American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP) is retiring an older, coal-fired power plant in Ohio and to start the process, is letting go of 62 employees.
The plan is for the units to be retired in May to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. AEP has given a 60-day closure notice to the state jobs office for its Muskingum River plant located in Beverly. The 1,440 megawatt plants has a total of five generating units. Layoffs are scheduled to go into effect on May 31st.
AEP is also closing its Picway plant located in Lockbourne. The 100 megawatt plant, which only operates when needed, has one generating unit. The plant is run by a skeleton crew from AEP’s Conesville plant location. Considering there are no full-time employees at the Picway plant, no closure notice was given to the state jobs office.
As reported by Columbus Business First, “By next year, the company plans to retire over 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity at 11 power plants across the Appalachian region.”
The EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards go into effect next month and are the first federal limits on mercury. The EPA says the standards will prevent an estimated 560 premature deaths in Ohio and create up to $4.6 billion in health benefits during 2016. Many power companies have decided to close plants rather than adding pollution-control technologies due to it being too expensive to modify.