Largest Pa. Power Plant to Shutter Early

Aug 13, 2019

FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield plant in Shippingport, Pa.
Credit Keith Srakocic / AP

Bruce Mansfield Power Plant, for years the largest coal plant in Pennsylvania, will be closing even sooner than planned. 

FirstEnergy Solutions announced the plant will close in November, almost two years before its previously-announced retirement date of June, 2021. About 200 people work at the plant. In making the announcement, the company said the plant was closing because of “a lack of economic viability in current market conditions.”

In 2018, Akron-based FirstEnergy announced that FirstEnergy Solutions, its power-generating subsidiary, would de-activate the plant, in Shippingport, Beaver County. 

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, 2018. In its filing, the company revealed that Bruce Mansfield lost $90 million in 2017 alone, and was projected to lose even more — $104 million — in 2018. It cited low-cost natural gas as a leading cause for the plant’s struggles.

The Energy Information Administration said coal plant retirements have continued during the Trump administration. Last year, coal-plant owners announced the second-highest total of U.S. coal plant retirements, second only to the amount of retirements announced in 2015.

“Many plant owners have retired their coal-fired units because of relatively flat electricity demand growth and increased competition from natural gas and renewables,” the agency said in a recent report.

Last month, FirstEnergy received a bailout from the Ohio legislature for a pair of nuclear plants in the state in a bill that also made steep cuts to the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements.

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.