Just earlier this year, the last of PSE&G’s coal power plants was formally shut down, following 57 years of service to the region. This closure represents part of a much larger step in the overall movement towards more equitable and efficient forms of energy production.
This closure comes following over 6 years of investment and work done to upgrade the plant (alongside several others in the region) at costs of over $1 billion to PSE&G. Nevertheless, the viability of this plant has still been eclipsed by the advent of newer gas fired generating stations.
While several attributions have been made to this closure, such as environmentalists crediting themselves with their protest, PSE&G has found that fracking has actually been their biggest competitor in recent years. While the plant has only recently been closed, it had been inactive and producing little to no power for quite some time now. This was not the case some twenty-plus years ago; outputting 632 Megawatts, Mercer Generating Station was a prime participant in its heyday.
In the months to come, the remaining supply of coal at the station will be loaded onto barges and resold back into the market from which it once came as a surplus supply. The employees are quite content with their transitions as well, feeling suitably prepared to either retire or take on new positions within PSE&G.
This is a key element in the concept of energy production as covered by our lectures in class, as coal powered energy production has been perhaps one of the most well known methods in recent history. Of course, in the past few decades, this has begun to evolve as new methods have taken a foothold in the race for dominance in this field. Issues of environmental concern have always taken a center seat with coal-fired power plants, seeing their obvious destructive nature to the environment. The question for many politicians and bureaucrats quickly becomes, “is it worth it financially to make the switch”. Fortunately for environmentalists, and people as a whole, there is still a strong push towards greener methods.
Future plans for the large plot of land the station occupies include the possibility of its replacement with a solar panel field, which would certainly be a welcome addition to the somewhat deprecated and dirty wetlands.