ALTON — Houston-based power company Dynegy announced plans Wednesday to phase out its Wood River coal-fired power plant in Alton, with a targeted retirement date of mid-2016. In its announcement, Dynegy cited unfavorable market conditions as the reason for the closure.
In response to the news, Elizabeth Scrafford, an organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Alton, released the following statement:
“Today, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is focused on the workers at Dynegy’s Wood River coal plant and their families and is committed to working in solidarity to maximize new opportunities for the skilled workforce at the plant. We recognize Dynegy’s commitment to minimize worker impact by partnering with the union that represents the large majority of these employees to identify opportunities for workers to transition to other plants in the Dynegy fleet and other efforts to help facilitate the transition for those who are unable to secure other roles. The Sierra Club continues to fight statewide for additional policies that will jump-start the state’s energy economy to allow for new, family-sustaining jobs for the workers impacted by a rapidly changing energy market.”
“For more than a year, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and its partners in the Metro East area have been calling on community leaders to start planning for the inevitable transition of aging power plants like the Wood River coal plant. It is our hope that Dynegy’s announcement today will catalyze an inclusive and all-encompassing stakeholder process to begin the necessary work of envisioning Alton’s future without a coal plant, and to identify new opportunities for development and future use of the site. The Sierra Club stands ready to work with stakeholders to that end.”
The announcement of the phase-out of Dynegy’s Wood River coal-fired power plant represents the 206th coal plant to retire or announce retirement since 2010, locking in the reduction of more than 330 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of 70 million passenger vehicles.