Deadlines Set For Partial Springfield Coal Plant Closure, Plan For Workers Next

Feb 5, 2020

Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power will retire its two oldest coal units by the end of the year and a third by October, 2023.

Nine months after a city-hired consultant called for the three units to be shuttered as soon as possible, the Springfield City Council last night approved the timeline for the closures. City officials said a plan for around 60 affected plant workers is the next step.

The closures will leave the newest generator, built in 2009; two smaller, oil generators; and yet-to-be-signed power purchasing agreements to provide electricity to the city.

“We have to meet with union members and work out severance packages if that’s the path we go down,” said Mayor Jim Langfelder. “But again we’re trying to transition people.”

Environmentalists, plant workers and concerned residents packed a public meeting and city council meeting last week to hear city officials debate the closures and offer their opinions. With no debate Tuesday, the council voted 10-0 to approve the plan.

Ward 10 Ald. Ralph Hanauer offered an amendment to change the date for the Dallman 33 closure from February 2022 to September 2023. Last week, utility officials said the additional time would allow for more retirements, which would mean more openings for displaced workers.

The Energy Authority’s report in May found the generators are more expensive to run than buying electricity from the open market. It also offered more details about the regulatory challenges the utility is facing with keeping the older units up and running.

Retiring the units avoids millions in costs over the next five years, according to CWLP. The utility also predicts that operating the units would cost tens of millions more per year than buying from the grid.

This post will be updated.