Ames Municipal Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Ames Municipal Power Plant was a 108.5-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Ames Municipal Utilities in Ames, Iowa.

The plant was converted to run on natural gas in April 2016.

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The power plant is in the process of converting from a coal-burning plant to natural gas. The conversion is expected to be completed by the spring of 2016.[1]

The plant stopped burning coal on April 24, 2016, and is now fully running on natural gas.[2]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Ames Municipal Utilities
  • Parent Company: City of Ames, Iowa
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 108.5 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 37.5 MW (1968), 71 MW (1982)
  • Location: 200 East 5th St., Ames, IA 50010
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.025244, -93.607994
  • Electricity Production: 508,139 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 719,216 tons (2005), 653673.72 tons (2008)[3]
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,235 tons (2005), 1183.7 (2008)[4]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 4.86 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 1,380 tons (2005), 1129.13 (2008)[4]
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ames Municipal Power Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[5] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[6]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ames Municipal Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 2 $14,000,000
Heart attacks 3 $330,000
Asthma attacks 32 $2,000
Hospital admissions 1 $33,000
Chronic bronchitis 1 $530,000
Asthma ER visits 2 <$1,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed April 2011

Articles and Resources


  1. "City signs contracts for natural gas to run power plant," Ames Tribune, Oct 14, 2015
  2. "City officials celebrate move to natural gas," Ames tribune, May 20, 2016
  3. Iowa Operating Permit Application, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  4. 4.0 4.1 [1]Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  5. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  6. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

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