Dynegy reports losses as it shuts down coal-fired power plants

The shutdown of two coal-fired power plants and the bankruptcy of a subsidiary contributed to losses last year for Huston-based Dynegy Inc., the company said Thursday.

Dynegy said it lost $180 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a $134 million loss during the same period in 2015. For all of 2016,  the company reported a loss of $1.24 billion, compared to a profit of $50 million 2015.

Dynegy attributed most of its fourth quarter losses to the December bankruptcy filing of its subsidiary Illinois Power Generating Co., which operates coal-fired power plants in Illinois. The company, known as Genco, emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month after its plans for restructuring debt were approved by the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court, according to a company statement.

Earlier this month, Dynegy closed a $3.3 billion deal with French company Engie to buy 17 power plants, most of them natural gas-fired. The deal is part of Dynegy’s plan to unload its older and more expensive coal-fired power plants and transition to cheaper and cleaner-burning natural gas. The company is aiming to have 70 percent of its fleet fired by natural gas, which means it could shut down some of its coal-fired plants, like Coleto Creek outside of Victoria.

“The Engie acquisition solidified the transformation of our wholesale generation business we began in 2013. We have built the most efficient and lowest-cost platform in the industry while migrating our portfolio to a gas-dominated fleet,” said CEO Bob Flexon in a statement.