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Retirement of small Mich. coal plant to proceed

The has determined that the 55-MW Endicottcoal-fired plant in Michigan is not needed for reliability after all and can beretired June 1 as previously planned by its owner, the Michigan South Central Power Agency.

The gridoperator's decision reverses its move in October 2015 to designate the plant a System Support Resource. That designationmeant that the plant had to stay online to ensure electric reliability.

But afterfurther review, MISO found that Endicott can be retired, according to MISO spokesmanAndy Schonert.An analysis by the grid operator found that other options are available to mitigategrid overloads until transmission upgrades are completed in June 2017.

The Michigan South Central Power Agency, which serves the Michigantowns of Clinton, Coldwater, Hillsdale, Marshall and Union City, said on its websitethat the retirement date remains June 1. The organization announced the retirement of the 34-year-old plant last year,saying Endicott had become too expensive to operate. "Following considerablestaff analysis, independent consulting and engineering studies, MSCPA has determinedit is no longer in their members' best interests to continue to operate a smallcoal fired generator," according to the website. The agency plans to meet withits member communities to discuss options for replacing the plant's power.

Endicott is the only fossil power plant owned and operated byMSCPA, its website said.But MSCPA purchases power from the coal-fired Prairie State Energy Center, ownedby American Municipal Power Inc.and several municipal power agencies, and AMP's Fremont Energy Center. MSCPA alsoreceives power from several hydroelectric facilities.

Endicott is unlikely to be mothballed, and MSCPA is planningto demolish it, the Coldwater, Mich., DailyReporter newspaper has reported.The plant began operating in 1982.

Widespread coal plant retirements across the Midwest havecreated challenges for grid reliability. If the federal limits on CO2 from the currentlystayed Clean Power Plan are allowed to move ahead, the MISO region may have to shoulderaround $100 billion in compliance costs, the grid operator has . MISO has started work on developinglong-term transmission plans in response to the Clean Power Plan.