NRG Energy Inc. has announced announced it plans to close the Will County Unit III coal-fired power plant in Romeoville in April 2015 and convert the Joliet power plant into a natural gas-fired plant by mid-2016 to cut carbon-dioxide emissions. The New-Jersey based firm also said emissions control technology will be installed at its Pekin and Waukegan power facilities.
NRG says the $567-million clean energy investment plan will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 16 million tons annually by 2020, which accounts for more than half of Illinois’ carbon dioxide reduction goal proposed by President Barack Obama.
Environmental groups have welcomed the decision toward greener energy, but said NRG could do more.
“NRG is taking important steps to phase out a third of its Illinois coal fleet, but it failed to announce any new investments in clean energy or long-term plan for the future,” Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, was quoted as saying in Suntimes.com.
The company says the changes will reduce job numbers by 250 during the next two years. Company spokesman Dave Gaier said NRG plans to offer voluntary severance packages to workers. “These aren’t necessarily layoffs,” Burlingtoncountytimes.com reported.