The announcement by Dominion Resources Inc. comes one day after the private overseer of the region's power network declared that there would be enough energy available even during peak periods if Dominion closed two of the four boilers at the massive 747-megawatt plant. Dominion now says it will close all four boilers by June 2014.
The owners of the coal- and oil-fired Salem Harbor Power Station announced that they will shutter the plant within three years because environmental regulations and facility upgrades make the plant too costly to operate.
The Salem plant, which opened in 1951, has long been targeted as one of the state's dirtiest coal and oil power plants for the pollution it emits, including heat-trapping carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
State Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said Dominion's announcement is consistent with the move by Governor Deval Patrick's administration toward green energy.
In Salem, residents applauded the step toward clean energy use, but worried about the affect the closing may have on the city and employees.
"Hopefully, they take care of the people'' who work there, said Mike Chase of Salem, 46, as he walked downtown with an iced coffee. "I don't know what they're going to do when it closes.''