CIPCO fair station

CIPCO's Fair Station, on Iowa Highway 22 near Montpelier, has closed. (Muscatine Journal photo)

MONTPELIER, Iowa — A Muscatine county area generating station has closed its doors.

The CIPCO Fair Station, a coal-fueled power plant located near Montpelier on Iowa 22, burned the last of its coal on Nov. 2 and has shut down. The 23 positions at the plant will be eliminated.

Kathy Breheny, vice president of corporate communications of Central Iowa Power Cooperative, said the plant's closing has been in the board of directors' plans for some time now.

"It's a 1960s plant that's just not efficient to run anymore," she said, adding that it would also be cost-prohibitive to invest more money in the plant to adhere to increasingly stringent EPA regulations.

"The newer plants are just more efficient to run," Breheny said. "It's not economical to run [the station] with the current market prices. It's time for it to be retired."

Breheny said the generating plant has provided reliable electricity for the past 50 years. Electricity from the plant was used to serve co-op membership, which provides power in 58 Iowa counties.

Since the last coal burn, Breheny said CIPCO has been in the process of decommissioning the plant with the purpose of eventually tearing it down — the most cost effective move, she said — and turning the area into an evergreen site. She said there's no timetable yet for that project.

"We’re getting bids on that but we’ve not hired contractors yet," Breheny said.