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Vistra Energy slated to get $40 million in state grants to convert Bartonville coal plant into energy storage site

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A federal Clean Air Act settlement requires Vistra to close the Bartonville by the end of this year. Vistra plans to turn it into a 37-megawatt battery energy storage facility.

The company that plans to convert the E.D. Edwards coal plant in Bartonville into a battery-storage facility will receive over $40 million in state grants as an incentive to do so.

The Bartonville plant is one of five chosen for the state’s Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program. The operators of those five ex-coal plants will split $280.5 million in grants over 10 years, starting in 2025 when the retooled facilities are expected to be commercially operational.

Vistra Energy, which operates and is converting the Bartonville plant, will get $40.7 million, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s announcement on Wednesday. The money is part of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which puts Illinois on a path toward 100% clean energy by 2050. The program provides incentives for companies to install energy storage facilities at the sites of former coal plants.

“When it comes to Illinois’ clean energy future, this initiative will help deliver on the progress our residents deserve,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement. “Illinois is taking strides that no other state in the Midwest – and few in the country – are taking when it comes to combatting climate change. The Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program is a critical component of ensuring Illinois families see stable and reliable energy service every step of the way.”

A federal Clean Air Act settlement requires Vistra to close the Bartonville by the end of this year. Vistra plans to turn it into a 37-megawatt battery energy storage facility. The plant previously generated about 585 megawatts of power.

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Contact Ryan at rmdenha@ilstu.edu or (309) 438-5426.