Power plant still scheduled to close despite GenOn merger

Avon Lake

By Bryan Wroten

Despite the merger of GenOn Energy Inc. and NRG Energy Inc., the Avon Lake power plant will still close in April 2015.

“That remains as scheduled to be deactivated in 2015,” said Karla Olsen, a spokeswoman for GenOn. “We’ve already addressed that at this point. We’re going forward with the deactivation on that.”

According to a press release issued July 22, the two corporations signed a definitive agreement to combine the companies in a stock-for-stock, tax-free transaction, “creating the largest competitive generator in the United States with a diverse fleet of approximately 47,000 megawatts (MW) with asset concentrations in the East, Gulf Coast and West and a combined enterprise value of $18 billion.”

GenOn decided to close the Avon Lake coal-fired plant, which employs 80 people, in February, because the further investments in environmental protection measures required by federal regulations were too costly for the company. Mark Baird, a previous spokesman for GenOn, told The Press in an earlier interview that if regulatory or forecasted market conditions change, the company will re-evaluate its options.

Before GenOn announced the scheduled closing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed an enforcement action against the plant for failing to install necessary pollution control devices following a plant upgrade. National Public Radio broke the news in November 2011 about the plant being on a secret U.S. EPA “watch list,” highlighting the plant released into the air more than 2 million pounds of lead, mercury, arsenic and other toxic chemicals in 2010.

At the time, Baird said GenOn disagreed with the NPR report and the U.S. EPA’s notice, and stated the company was in compliance with all federal and state environmental regulations.

Contact Bryan Wroten at bwroten@2presspapers.com and www.twitter.com/bryanwroten

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