Chalk Point Generating Station

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Chalk Point Generating Station
Chalk Point Generating Station (cropped).jpg
Chalk Point Generating Station in 2007
CountryUnited States
LocationEagle Harbor, Maryland
Coordinates38°32′37″N 76°41′19″W / 38.54361°N 76.68861°W / 38.54361; -76.68861Coordinates: 38°32′37″N 76°41′19″W / 38.54361°N 76.68861°W / 38.54361; -76.68861
Commission date
  • 1964
Decommission dateJune 2021 (Unit 1 & 2)
Owner(s)NRG Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal (Units 1 & 2)
Secondary fuelOil and natural gas (Unit 3 & 4)
Power generation
Units operational2 × 364 MWe (Units 1 & 2)
2 × 659 MWe Unit 3 & 4)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The Chalk Point Generating Station is a 2,647-MWe electricity-generating plant owned by NRG Energy, located near the tiny incorporated town of Eagle Harbor, Maryland, United States, on the Patuxent River. The plant is not a major air and water polluter in the Prince George's County, Maryland and in the state of Maryland because some of its units utilize old generating technologies.

Plant operator GenOn Energy Holdings announced in August 2020 that it would shut down the two coal-fired units at the plant in June 2021. Environmental and community advocates supported the closure, but highlighted the lack of plan in Maryland to support a "Just Transition" for the community and employees of the plant.[1]

Individual Units[edit]

The facility consists of several units:

Units ST1 and ST2 are coal-fired dry-bottom, wall-fired steam generating plants rated at 364 MWe each. They were put into service in 1964 and 1965, and are scheduled to close in 2021.
Units 3 and 4 are oil and natural gas fired units rated at 659 MWe each, put into service in 1975 and 1981. These units are cooled by natural draft cooling towers.

The site also contains seven combustion turbines owned and operated by NRG.

Oil-fired units GT1 and GT2 (put into service in 1967 and 1974) are rated at 16 MWe and 35 MWe.
Oil/gas-fired units GT3–GT6 (put into service in 1991) are rated at 103, 103, 125, and 125 MWe respectively.
Unit SGT1, an oil/gas-fired combustion turbine, is rated at 94 MWe and was put into service in 1990. The turbine was owned by the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) until 2015, when it was acquired by NRG.[2]

The combined name-plate capacity of all seven combustion turbines is 601 MWe.[3][4]


The Chalk Point plant began service in 1964.[5] All of the GenOn generating units at the Chalk Point Generating Station were built by the Potomac Electric Power Company, which sold them to the Southern Company in December 2000 as a result of the restructuring of the electricity generating industry in Maryland. The station was included in the Mirant spin-off from the Southern Company in April 2001. Mirant was merged into GenOn Energy in 2010,[6] and GenOn merged into NRG in 2012.[7]

GenOn announced in August 2020 that it planned to shut down the two coal-fired units in June 2021. Environmental and community advocates supported the closure, but highlighted the lack of plan in Maryland to support a Just Transition for the community and employees of the plant.[1]

Fuel delivery[edit]

Coal is delivered to the Chalk Point generating station by CSX Transportation trains via the Herbert Subdivision, a former Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) line. This line is accessed via the Amtrak Northeast Corridor line, with coal being delivered from trains staged at the CSX Benning Yard (also former PRR facilities) in Anacostia, Washington, DC. These trains are brought from the coal fields via the CSX Metropolitan Subdivision and Cumberland Subdivision down the Potomac River valley from Cumberland, Maryland.

Dispatch of electricity[edit]

The electrical output of Chalk Point Generating Station is dispatched by the PJM Interconnection regional transmission organization.[5]

Environmental impacts[edit]

Chalk Point plant is by far the leading polluter in Prince George's County, Maryland, according to pollution research site[8] It produced 5,271,800 pounds (2,391 metric tons) of air pollution (not counting CO2) and 3,702 pounds (1.7 metric tons) of water pollution in 2002. (The second largest polluter, the USDA's Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, produced 79,550 pounds (36 metric tons) of mostly land pollution in 2002.)

In August 2018, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) required three generating stations across the state, including Chalk Point, to meet current federal wastewater standards (effluent guidelines) by November 2020. The coal-fired units at these plants discharge arsenic and mercury to their respective receiving waters, as allowed by 1980s-era pollution standards under now-expired permits. Upgrading the plants' treatment systems to Maryland's current standards "could reduce discharges of toxic metals by 97 percent."[9] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published the updated federal standards in 2015.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Shwe, Elizabeth (2020-08-14). "Two Coal Plants in Prince George's County Will Shut Down By Next Year". Maryland Matters. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  2. ^ Cassell, Barry (2015-11-20). "FERC okays NRG buy of 77-MW unit at Chalk Point plant in Maryland". Transmission Hub. Tulsa, OK: Endeavor Business Media.
  3. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  4. ^ Maryland Department of Natural Resources (2007-04-02). "Environmental Review of the Proposed Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Project at the Chalk Point Generating Station" (PDF). Maryland Public Service Commission Case No. 9086 docket. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04.
  5. ^ a b GenOn Energy, Houston, TX. "Chalk Point Generating Station." Archived November 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2011-06-28.
  6. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (2010-04-12). "Merger of Energy Producers To Form $3 Billion Company". New York Times.
  7. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (2012-07-23). "NRG Energy to Buy GenOn in Move to Bolster Stocks and Cut Costs". New York Times.
  8. ^ "Environmental Releases for Chalk Point Generating Station". 2002.
  9. ^ Dance, Scott (2018-08-14). "Maryland requires three coal power plants to limit arsenic, mercury water pollution starting in 2020". Baltimore Sun.
  10. ^ "Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines - 2015 Final Rule". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2018-11-30.