JOPPA POWER PLANT CLOSURE

We’re committed to a responsible retirement and just transition for the community and impacted energy workers.

The Joppa Power Plant, owned by Electric Energy Inc. (EEI), is scheduled to retire no later than Sep. 1, 2022. This webpage has been created to provide the community with information about the plant’s retirement, remediation and reuse as an energy storage center.

Retirement Status

Vistra Corp. and EEI, the entity that owns the Joppa Power Plant, are committed to the responsible retirement of the Joppa Power Plant and repurposing the facility into an energy storage facility. In April 2021, we announced the Joppa Power Plant would retire no later than Sep. 1, 2022. With every retirement, we prioritize treating our dedicated energy workers with respect and dignity. Specifically in Joppa we have:

  • Honored all our previous commitments on wages, benefits and health care outlined in our local collective bargaining agreement.
  • Entered into Effects Bargaining with the local union employee group (IOUE Local 148) and finalized a comprehensive severance agreement.
  • Offered up to $10,000 annually in up-front tuition reimbursement to all active employees to take educational classes or training of their choosing
  • We will offer employees the opportunity to transfer within the company and offer a third-party outplacement program to employees at no-cost to them.

We are committed to assisting our employees throughout the closure process and providing updates to the broader community on what they can expect at the plant site.

Environmental Updates

Recently, monitoring stations detected elevated levels of boron at the edge of the plant’s property.

Boron is found in nature and everyday items such as fruits, vegetables, and seawater.

The current detected levels of boron exceed state standards, but there is no known health risk to the public drinking system.

There is no evidence the aquifer used by the Village’s public water system has been impacted.

We have briefed local, regional, and state officials and are working in partnership to install additional monitoring stations to gather more data.

Property owners with private drinking wells or irrigation wells in the defined study zone indicated on the map below are encouraged to contact the company to have their well tested. EEI will cover the cost and share the results of the testing. Individuals with private wells outside the defined test area can contact EEI to have their well registered in the event additional testing is required.

The company is evaluating interim corrective measures that can be implemented.

Next Steps: Gather Data, Communicate & Take Action

We have briefed local, regional, and state officials and are working in partnership to install additional monitoring stations to gather more data.

The company is evaluating interim corrective measures that can be implemented.

The detected levels of boron at these groundwater monitoring stations exceeding the applicable state groundwater standard of 2.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L) range from 3.4 mg/L to 6.94 mg/L.

The elevated levels of boron have been detected near the Plant’s property boundary in the groundwater in the upper aquifer at depths of 55 to 130 feet below the ground’s surface. There is a possibility that the constituent has moved off of EEI’s property and that elevated levels of boron may or may not be found in the groundwater to the east and southeast of the Plant.

What We Know Now: No Evidence Public Water Aquifer Impacted

There is no evidence that groundwater in the lower aquifer, which supplies the Village’s public water supply well, has been impacted. 

The lower aquifer is separated from the upper aquifer by a confining layer of silt and clay. The top of the lower aquifer begins at a depth of 140 feet below the ground’s surface, and the Village’s public supply well collects water from between 180 to 240 feet below the surface

What Is Boron & Known Health Impacts

Boron is an element found in fruits, vegetables, and even seawater. Many everyday items such as cosmetics, dietary supplements, and cleaning products contain boron. 

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements details select concentrations of boron that occur naturally.

Selected Foods Milligrams of Boron per serving
Prune juice, 1 cup 1.43
Avocado, raw, cubbed, 1/2 cup 1.07
Raisins, 1.5 ounces 0.95
Peaches, medium sized 0.80

Government source link for above data.

Boron is found in dietary supplements containing only boron and also containing boron in combination with a few other nutrients, often other minerals. Common amounts of elemental boron in nutritional supplements range from 0.15 to 6 milligrams per serving.

While boron is naturally occurring, studies have been conducted to determine if ingestion in high concentrations poses health impacts. Excess consumption of boron can potentially cause health impacts in humans. 

The current detected levels of boron in the upper aquifer at the property boundary are significantly less than the concentrations which can be associated with health impacts.

Here are links to independent government resources regarding the health impacts of boron consumption: 

Contact Us Form – Joppa Community Relations
Request Well Testing for Private Well In Joppa

SIGN ME UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES ON THE JOPPA POWER PLANT

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What EEI Is Going To Do Now

EEI is taking swift action to collect additional data and has already begun work to implement interim corrective measures ahead of a permanent closure plan for the East Ash Pond.  

EEI is also in the process of implementing a pilot study to evaluate the extraction of groundwater to help redirect it before it potentially moves off the plant’s property. This system would collect the extracted water and then manage it appropriately.  

 Making the extraction system operational requires further data collection, testing, and permitting, but EEI is moving promptly to have the groundwater extraction system permit-ready by fall 2022.

Closing The Plant’s East Ash Pond As Part of the Plant Retirement Process

Coal plants relied on man-made ponds to collect the byproducts of burning coal to make electricity, known as coal combustion residuals or CCR. 

The byproducts are stored wet in the ponds, referred to as “surface impoundments” or “coal ash ponds.” It is now time for EEI to permanently close the East Ash Pond.

Coal plants relied on man-made ponds to collect the byproducts of burning coal to make electricity, known as coal combustion residuals or CCR. 

The byproducts are stored wet in the ponds, referred to as “surface impoundments” or “coal ash ponds.” It is now time for EEI to permanently close the East Ash Pond. 

State regulations known as “Part 845” ensure that CCR is disposed of in ways that protect the environment and public health.

Part 845 regulations contain comprehensive requirements for public notice and community engagement and require EEI to undertake rigorous analysis before requesting a permit from Illinois EPA. 

Any approved closure plan will be guided by science to ensure the permanent closure is protective of public health and the environment.

By June 1, the company will make available the closure construction permit documents for the East Ash Pond on the company’s publicly accessible CCR website, https://www.luminant.com/ccr

There will be local public meetings on the draft permit in June, and the plant will post detailed information in advance and in the formats required by state regulations.

Our Commitment to Joppa

EEI is committed to a responsible retirement of the Joppa Power Plant and to being a good steward of the property.  Working with the community and Illinois EPA, EEI will address any exceedances of various residual substances, including boron, on or around the plant’s property.

Plans for Renewed Joppa Plant

Since the passage of the Energy Transition Act, Vistra has been working to obtain all regulatory approvals, as well as submitted development agreements and contract proposals with state agencies to implement the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Initiative.

The Joppa Plant site does not have the characteristics to support utility-scale solar development. Vistra has proposed to transform the site into a 37 MW Battery Energy Storage Center.

We expect to have the confirmed status of Joppa’s energy storage development agreement by June 1, 2022 and will file paperwork with MISO to obtain regulatory approval for the project upon the plant’s retirement.

Property Tax Impact

A retired power plant has minimal taxable or economic value compared to an operating plant. Vistra proposed and advocated for the Coal to Solar & Energy Storage Initiative to help spur investment, construction activity and build a new tax base in plant communities affected by the retirement of coal plants.

It is currently projected that the battery energy storage center to be built at the Joppa Power Plant site will generate up to 155% more in annualized property taxes compared to the average property tax generated by the plant from 2017-2021.

The battery energy storage center will generate more local money for area schools, government services and roads than the legacy coal plant.

Impact of Coal to Solar & Energy Storage Initiative at the Joppa Plant Site from 2022 – 2024:

~$47 M

Invested at Plant

  37 MW

Up to 101 Total Direct, Indirect & Induced Full-Time Jobs Created in the Local Community

Up to $5.9 M in Earrings for Local Workers & $10.2 M Boost for the Local County Economy

Up to 155% Increase In Property Taxes From Plant to Local Goverments

Status Updates and Timeline:

Status: Pre-submission engineering and review

Acres Required for Development: 1.5

Construction Time: 12 – 18 Months

Site Work Begins: Est. Q3 2023

Estimated Delivery Window: June 2025

Estimated New Property Tax Level: $1.7 – $2.1 M