Hundreds of workers at Vistra Energy may soon be out of a job after they announced it wants to close four of its coal-fired plants in Illinois. This is in an effort to comply with tighter air-emissions standards. One of those plants is Duck Creek in Canton.
“We do continue to want to have a sustainable business in Illinois and that’s why we are supportive of the coal and solar and energy storage act. We’re hopeful the General Assembly will take that up this fall. It will allow us to develop these existing coal plant sites and install solar panels and battery energy storage at these sites. It will lessen the impacts to the communities and will help Illinois meet its clean energy goals,” said Meranda Cohn, Public Relations at Vistra Energy.
Cohn said this has been a two year process and they expect to make layoff announcements in November.
IBEW Local 51 represents workers at the Duck Creek plant and they said,”The local understands the plant closings will have a negative effect on these communities and we will be working to try to reduce the impact on our members and their families.”
State Senator Dave Koehler said lawmakers need to start thinking long term as plants will continue to close.
“We know that we need to move towards a carbon free environment because of climate change but we also know that in that change, people get caught up in job loss just like we are seeing here. This is unfortunate,” said Koehler.
State Representative Mike Unes took to Facebook to express his feelings with the following:
“I’m sick over this, as these were jobs that are important to these families and a big part of the economy in the southern part of the 91st district. These workers are the main concern at this point.”
Vistra Energy’s plan still needs approval from regional grid operators.
They could demand a plant be kept open if it’s needed for reliability.