CWLP suspends operation of coal-fired unit

Local News

Dallman Power Plant (Courtesy of City Water, Light and Power)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – City Water, Light & Power in Springfield announced today that it had taken the first step in retiring one of its two remaining coal-fired power units at Dallman Power Plant.

CWLP was scheduled to retire Dallman Power Plant Unit 33 by September 15, 2023, after more than 40 years of service. But in June, the unit experienced a “trip” that forced it offline. An inspection revealed damage to the unit’s turbine caused by the trip, and repairs to bring the unit online again were deemed too expensive. CWLP also said there would be other operational risks if the unit restarted.

“With extensive damage to the turbine, repair costs over the $1 million mark and the current personnel constraints we face, further operation of Dallman 33 isn’t feasible,” said CWLP Chief Utility Engineer Doug Brown. “While these decisions are tough, the damage to the unit makes it clear that now is the time to begin suspension of operations and work to transition affected jobs.”

Dallman 33 currently has 30 jobs. CWLP said that it and City Human Resources will work to help affected employees transfer to other jobs as they did when Dallman 31 and 32 were retired in December 2020. Some employees may transfer to other positions in the city or to Dallman 4, which will serve as CWLP’s sole coal-fired unit going forward.

CWLP stated that Dallman 4 and its utility peaking units can cover the demand of its customers “nearly 100 percent of the time.” CWLP added that other power-generating methods, such as renewable power, and importation of electricity from other markets could further supplement electric resources for CWLP customers after Dallman 33’s retirement.

“While we’ve all understood that this unit had to retire at some point, this next step is a big change and challenge for all of us at CWLP,” Brown said. “This unit, as well as Units 31 and 32, have employed generations of outstanding employees who have built and operated them over the years, helping to meet the energy demands of the region for more than half a century. For that, we all owe thanks for that service and we hope that message is received.”

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