SALEM, Mass., May 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion (NYSE: D) will cease operating two of the four units at Salem Harbor Power Station by the end of the year and plans to retire all four units on June 1, 2014, because pending environmental regulations and market conditions are making the power station uneconomical to operate.
Company officials today told ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the region's electric grid, that it will not seek to negotiate an agreement that could keep the station operating beyond existing commitments.
"This was a decision we had to make given the significant costs required to keep the station in compliance with pending environmental regulations and the falling margins for coal stations selling electricity in New England," said David A. Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation. "Salem Harbor employees are dedicated professionals who will continue to operate the station safely as we move toward retirement in 2014."
Dominion has operated Salem Harbor safely, economically and in compliance with existing environmental regulations since it purchased the power station in 2005.
Dominion said last year that it would not invest the funds needed to comply with new environmental regulations that would go into effect in 2014 and beyond. The company would have been required to spend millions of dollars on new controls at the power station to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dominion last fall submitted a permanent delist bid for all four Salem Harbor units in the ISO-New England's Forward Capacity Auction 5, covering June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015. ISO-New England rejected that bid and offered a mitigated price that did not guarantee full cost recovery of the environmental controls. In response, the company submitted a non-price retirement bid for all four units in February. On May 10, the ISO informed Dominion that it had accepted those bids for Units 1 and 2, but rejected the non-price retirement bids for Units 3 and 4 because they were needed for system reliability during the FCA5 commitment period.
"We would have been faced with spending millions to comply with new environmental regulations without assurance of full cost recovery before committing to support the ISO's reliability needs," said Christian. "We could not take that risk."
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,200 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.