Feb 29 (Reuters) - Midwest Generation, a unit of California power company Edison International, agreed to shut two coal-fired power plants in Chicago, the Sierra Club, an environmental group, said in a release Wednesday.
Over the past few years, energy companies have announced the shutdown or planned retirement of more than 25,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation due to proposed more stringent federal environmental regulations, weak power market conditions and record switching from coal to natural gas-fired generators as gas prices hold near 10 year lows.
Officials at Midwest Generation were not immediately available for comment.
Midwest Generation will shut the 326-MW Fisk plant in 2012 and the 532-MW Crawford plant by 2014. The two units at the Crawford plant entered service in 1958 and 1961. The one unit still operating at Fisk entered service in 1968.
The Sierra Club said the agreement to shut the plants was signed by Midwest Generation, the Clean Power Coalition and the City of Chicago. The Sierra Club, which is working to shut all coal plants, is part of the Clean Power Coalition.
The Sierra Club noted Midwest Generation still has four other coal plants in Illinois and expects the company "will be making critical decisions in the next several months with whether to make risky investments in retrofitting these old coal plants or choose to set retirement dates and invest in clean energy."
The Sierra Club said the Fisk and Crawford plants are the 98th and 99th plants to be retired since its Beyond Coal campaign began, which the club says has already stopped more than 150 new coal plants from breaking ground over the past decade.