PSEG Power has retired its last remaining coal-fired power plant, a 400-megawatt facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that began operation more than a half-century ago in 1968 when it opened with the option of running with either coal or oil.
The plant’s retirement, effective May 31, signals the completion of the company’s long-term coal exit strategy aimed at eventually achieving net-zero carbon emissions. PSEG Power closed its two coal-fired plants in Hudson and Mercer counties in New Jersey four years ago.
By the end of this year, the company hopes to advance that goal by selling off the rest of its more than 6,000 megawatts of fossil-fuel generating units in New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Connecticut. PSEG plans to retain its three nuclear power plants in New Jersey, which in April were awarded $300 million in annual ratepayer subsidies for another three years.
End of the road for coal
“For PSEG, the retirement of Bridgeport Harbor Station 3 marks the end of our company’s coal era, reflecting a nationwide trend toward the use of cleaner fuels to generate the electricity we need to power our lives,’’ said PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo.
The Bridgeport facility, converted to a full-time coal unit in 2002, supplied power to much of southern Connecticut, but was used as a peaking facility in recent years, operating only when called upon during times of peak energy demand in extreme heat or extreme cold. In 2020, the unit was called on to operate for just two days, and not at all in 2019.
This year, however, the unit ran for nearly two uninterrupted months to supply power to the grid during a stretch of unusually cold weather in January and February. “That remarkable run, even as the unit was just weeks from retiring permanently, reflects the readiness and determination of the entire Bridgeport Harbor team,’’ Izzo said.
In addition to its exit from coal, PSEG Power’s remaining fossil generation units, including a new modern, highly efficient gas-powered plant located on the Bridgeport site, are part of the company’s plan to explore divestiture options for its fossil and solar assets.
Following this process, PSEG Power’s fleet will consist almost entirely of carbon-free energy, including nuclear plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and new investments in offshore wind generation.