An ancient coal-fired power plant that has generated electricity -- and pollution -- in the heart of the nation's capital is finally closing for good.
"Inside GenOn's Potomac River Generating Station, the huge boiler hanging from the eight-story ceiling is cool now. The giant steam-driven turbines, rounded as a bodybuilder's shoulders, are stilled. The hands on the gauges of the old control panels, long since replaced by computerized indicators, have stopped rising and falling. There's only a trace of coal dust on the stairways' iron railings.
For two generations, the electricity generated here helped power the post-World War II economic boom across the land. It provided a good living for thousands of employees and good profits for shareholders.
An unmistakable landmark, the plant's five short smokestacks identified the Alexandria riverfront as much as the George Washington Masonic Memorial does from a hill near the King Street Metro station.
Those stacks also pushed untold tons of air pollution into the skies over the District, Maryland and Virginia, marking the plant as the largest single source of air pollution in the Washington region."