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Coal plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio to shut down

Coal plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio to shut down

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The owner of three coal-fired power plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio said Thursday that it will shut them down.

Houston-based GenOn Holdings LLC said it will shut down a generating unit at both Avon Lake station on Lake Erie near Cleveland and Cheswick station on the Allegheny River outside Pittsburgh by Sept. 15.

It said it will shut down two generating units at the much larger Morgantown station on Maryland's Cobb Neck peninsula by next June 1.

Combined, the four coal-fired units can provide up to 2,421 megawatts.

In a statement, GenOn blamed “unfavorable economic conditions, higher costs including those associated with environmental compliance, an inability to compete with other generation types and evolving market rules that promote subsidized resources.”

Coal power has fallen out of favor in the climate change era amid a push for cleaner power sources that produce less pollution and greenhouse gases. U.S. coal production has been in steady decline, down by about one-third over the past decade.

Coal also has been buffeted by a flood of cheaper natural gas from shale formations, including the vast Marcellus Shale reservoir underneath Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Shutdown of the units is subject to a 90-day reliability review period by the regional electric grid operator PJM, GenOn said.

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