May 15, 2013 / 11:51 PM / 6 years ago

NRG Energy to idle Pennsylvania coal plant in 2014, six months early

May 15 (Reuters) - NRG Energy said on Wednesday it agreed to idle two coal-fired units in Pennsylvania about six months ahead of schedule as part of a settlement to end a lawsuit filed by New Jersey and Connecticut in 2007.

NRG will shut two units capable of producing 401 megawatts at the Portland Generating Station in Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania, by June 1, 2014, after receiving regulatory approval, the company said in a release.

The units were already scheduled to shut in January 2015 by the previous owner, GenOn, which was acquired by NRG in late 2012, the company said.

The agreement, if approved by a federal court, will end a lawsuit brought by New Jersey and Connecticut for alleged noncompliance with the federal Clean Air Act at the Portland plant before it was acquired by Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG.

The company denied any violations of the Clean Air Act.

“This is a tremendous win for cleaner air and better health for the residents of New Jersey,” said Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in a separate statement.

NRG also agreed to make a “significant investment” in environmental projects, said Lee Davis, president of NRG’s East Region.

NRG’s Portland station is a 570-MW plant, located 26 miles northeast of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River. Other units at the station burn natural gas to generate power, according to the company’s website.

The agreement will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for review and public comment. It also is subject to approval from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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