CHICAGO - Today, NRG Energy, Inc., a New Jersey-based power producer finalized its purchase of Edison Mission Energy (EME), which includes Midwest Generation, its five coal-fired power plants and other wind and natural gas assets in Illinois.
Midwest Generation filed for bankruptcy in late 2012. A bankruptcy court in Chicago cleared the sale of EME’s assets to NRG Energy today.
The Illinois coal plants included in the sale are Midwest Generation’s Powerton, Joliet 9, Joliet 29, Waukegan and Will County coal-fired power plants in central and northern Illinois. The coal plants currently lack modern pollution controls, and are responsible for a combined 3,460 asthma attacks, 321 heart attacks and 206 deaths every year, according the Clean Air Task Force.
NRG Energy will take over responsibility for ongoing litigation regarding the many documented air and water pollution violations at the former Midwest Generation coal fleet.
In response to today's announcement, Holly Bender, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:
“As NRG finalizes its purchase of EME’s Illinois assets, we see enormous potential in the road that NRG and front line communities can forge together to build a strong clean energy economy here in Illinois. Changing market conditions that disfavor coal plants - like those that NRG now owns - are what drove EME into bankruptcy. We plan to take NRG CEO David Crane at his word that he truly has a different vision for the future of the electric sector, shifting away from coal to clean energy, efficiency and new grid technology.
“The Sierra Club is committed to helping NRG navigate away from coal and to unlock the immense opportunity that new clean energy investments present in communities like Waukegan and Joliet, which already have the energy infrastructure and trained professionals to transition to this vision for a clean energy economy.
"As NRG takes the reins of Midwest Generation’s aging coal plants, we call on NRG to have open and public conversations with community stakeholders to determine clear paths forward for communities that have dealt with coal pollution for decades. Now is the time for leadership from companies, local leaders and communities to create opportunities for workers to move from the old energy economy into family-sustaining jobs in the new clean energy economy, and to secure the future livelihoods and health care for all employees.”