Hutchins Power Station is a former coal-fired power plant near Dayton, Ohio, that is being redeveloped into a residential and recreational complex.
The city of Dayton’s first power plant for electric street lighting was erected by the Dayton Electric Company in 1883. 10 By March 1911, the Hills & Dales Railway Company, a supplier of power for electric railways, had purchased the Dayton Lighting Company and the Dayton Citizens’ Electric Company, amalgamating all of the city’s electric service under one company, the Dayton Power & Light Company (DP&L). 10 11 DP&L quickly grew by acquiring the Xenia Gas & Electric Company, the Wilmington Water & Light Company, and other utilities, providing electricity to Dayton, Xenia, Piqua, Wilmington, and 39 other communities by 1914. 11 The company’s largest power plant, Miller’s Ford, was brought into service in 1918, initially capable of generating 25 MW, but later expanded to 105 MW.
In 1925, DP&L diversified its business, venturing into the natural gas industry with the purchase of the Dayton Gas Company. It later merged with the Washington Gas & Electric Company in 1926 and with the Ohio Fuel & Gas Company in 1928. 11 By the end of the decade, the utility had one major and five minor electrical generating stations, a natural gas distribution network, and a steam heating system in Dayton.
During World War II, DP&L, like most businesses in the United States, focused its efforts on supporting the war effort, leading to a halt in acquisitions and plant expansions. The post-war years witnessed an insatiable demand for electricity propelled by rapid industrial, commercial, and residential development. To keep pace with the surging demand, DP&L embarked on a colossal construction program, breaking ground for a large coal-fired power plant along the Great Miami River south of Dayton in 1946. 10 11
In 1947, DP&L announced that it would name the power plant after its vice president, Orie H. Hutchins, who had worked for the company and its predecessor since 1892. 8 On July 12, 1948, the first 69 MW unit at the O.H. Hutchings Electric Generating Station was powered on. A second 69 MW unit was installed in a record 29 days and activated on March 11, 1949. 9 The other four 69 MW units were brought online in the following four years, giving the Hutchins a total of 414 MW at a total cost of $50 million. 5 11
In 2012, DP&L evaluated whether to retrofit the power plant with pollution control devices to meet impending regulations on mercury and heavy metal emissions by 2015 or to shut the entire facility down. 1 7 The number of customers the utility served had only slightly increased while its expenses were increasing substantially, eroding its profit margins. 11 It was concluded that it would not be cost-effective to retrofit the Hutchings with additional pollution control devices or to convert the plant to operate on natural gas. 6
DP&L intended to retire Units No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6 in May and fully deactivate them on June 1, 2015. Unit No. 4, which had earlier sustained damage to a rotor, was deactivated on June 1. The Hutchings Electric Generating Station was officially decommissioned in October. 2 3 4
In January 2021, DP&L sold the former Hutchins Power Station property to Frontier Industrial Group for $866,000. 7 12 Frontier planned to demolish the power plant and convert the site into an industrial park but opted to transform it into residences and a recreation complex after a market study noted the building’s unique architectural value.
- Bennish, Steve. “EPA rules to force old coal plants to adapt, close.” Dayton Daily News, 6 Jan. 2012.
- “AES to shut or convert coal power plants in Indiana and Ohio.” Reuters, 13 May 2013.
- “Form EIA-860 Data – Schedule 3, ‘Generator Data’.” US Energy Information Administration, 2014
- “Navy’s Last Coal-Fired Power Plant Decommissioned.” NAVFAC Washington Public Affairs, 23 Oct. 2015.
- “Hutchings Station.” Global Energy Monitor, 25 Dec. 2019.
- Cassell, Barry. “Venerable Hutchings coal plant about to go completely dark.” Transmission Hub, 27 Feb. 2013.
- Gnau, Thomas. “DP&L sells riverfront power station land for nearly $900K.” Dayton Daily News, 12 Jan. 2021.
- “O.H. Hutchings, DPL Officer, Dead.” Dayton Herald, 30 Jul. 1948, p. 24.
- “New Record Set for Erecting Generator.” Wilmington News-Journal, 12 Mar. 1949, p. 1.
- “A brief history of DP&L.” Dayton Daily News, 28 Apr. 2012.
- “DPL INC. History.” Funding Universe.
- Snau, Thomas. “Former Miamisburg power station could be ‘destination recreation’ location, offer residences.” Dayton.com, 22 Mar. 2022.