Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) will retire six coal-fired power units, including one that was converted to natural gas last year, representing a combined capacity of 900 MW, it announced Friday.
The utility, which is owned by Great Plains Energy Inc (NYSE:GXP), cited the units' age and a lack of near-term capacity need among the reasons for the decision, but also said that wind has become a much more economic generation resource for the region. The company noted that data from the Southwest Power Pool, of which it is a member, showed wind energy generation rose 30% year-over-year in 2016.
In 2016, KCP&L agreed to buy 500 MW of wind power from two new plants in Missouri, at Osborn and Rock Creek. The company said that this year it will expand its renewable portfolio to over 1,450 MW, accounting for more than 20% of its total generating capacity needs.
KCP&L will retire five coal units at its Montrose and Sibley stations by the end of 2018 and a natural gas unit at Lake Road by the end of 2019. The company has been considering whether to close the coal units or switch to an alternative fuel since 2015.
"After considering many options, it is clear that retiring units at Montrose, Lake Road and Sibley is the most cost-effective way to meet our customers’ energy needs as we continue to move to a more sustainable energy future," said Terry Bassham, president and chief executive of Great Plains Energy and KCP&L.