Coal Powered Chicago Electricity Plants Close Down
It’s the end of an era for coal power in Chicago. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the last two coal plants to operate within the borders of a major U.S city have been shut down. The 120 year old Fisk power plant and the Crawford power plant are the latest coal burning plants to fall victim to new EPA rules requiring coal power plants to upgrade to cleaner burning technology or cease operations.
The Fisk power plant, in service since 1903, burned its final batch of coal Thursday while its sister plant Crawford shut down by Wednesday, ending Chicago’s run as the only major U.S. city with two coal plants operating in its borders.
Their closings, confirmed by owner Midwest Generation, eliminate Chicago’s two biggest industrial sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. At their peak the plants supplied power to roughly 1 million homes.
“This marks a turning point from Chicago’s reliance on two highly polluting coal plants that use fuel from out of state to a cleaner energy future that’s less polluting and uses more Illinois wind and other clean resources,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.
The plant closings came after Midwest Generation declined to invest in expensive upgrades to meet federal air standards. In the last 2 1/2 years, 120 of the country’s 520 coal-fired generating plants have been shuttered because the needed environmental retrofits were deemed financially impractical.