Aug 7 (Reuters) - NRG Energy Inc said on Thursday it will spend about $567 million to reduce emissions from four coal-fired power plants in Illinois that it acquired from Edison Mission Generation in April.
The planned move will put the recently acquired plants in line with the company's overall strategy to diversify the fuel used at its generating units while cleaning up its 53,000-megawatt fleet for the future.
As part of the plan, NRG said it will convert the 1,326-megawatt Joliet plant to natural gas by mid 2016 and close the 251-MW Unit 3 at the Will County plant by April 2015.
NRG also said it will install emissions control technology at both the 1,538-MW Powerton and 689-MW Waukegan plants.
NRG spokesman David Gaier said in a call the company will fund the projects without seeking money from ratepayers or state subsidies.
The effect of the investment will be to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by at least 16 million tons per year, and lower both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
Gaier said the plan will help achieve 56 percent of the state wide CO2 reductions under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new carbon standards.
In addition, NRG plans to make a $3 million investment in solar power in Waukegan, Gaier said.
Gaier said the remaining 510-MW Unit 4 at Will County will continue to operate as long as it remains in compliance with emission laws and regulations. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)