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Evergy moves up timeline to close coal-fired plants

Posted at 3:42 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 16:47:20-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Evergy plans to close two of its coal-fired plants within nine years as part of its efforts to reduce its use of fossil fuels, according to a report filed Friday with regulators.

The utility will close its a coal-fired plant near Lawrence by the end of 2023. The plant is Evergy's oldest, with its remaining units dating back to 1960.

Evergy also will close Unit 3 of the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys, Kansas, in 2030, rather than in 2039 as originally planned, according to a report from the company.

The changes were detailed in an integrated resource plan the utility must file with regulators every three years to forecast its use of electricity. The plan has Evergy reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.

Evergy plans to replace the 1,153 megawatts of power from fossil fuel generation with 3,200 megawatts of wind and solar power by 2030.

"We're hearing more often from current and prospective commercial and industrial customers about their desire to move to more sustainable operations," David Campbell, president and CEO of Evergy, said in a statement. "This plan helps us help them achieve their carbon goals, as well as advancing Evergy's emissions targets."

The plan does not discuss the cost of the change or how it might affect customers' electric bills.

The Sierra Club, an environmental nonprofit, praised Evergy's move toward renewables but criticized its decision to continue burning coal beyond 2040 at its Hawthorn and Iatan 2 plants.

Evergy serves 1.6 million customers in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.