Bay Front Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Bay Front Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Xcel Energy in Ashland, Wisconsin.

In October 2008, Xcel Energy announced plans to spend over $55 million to convert the last remaining coal-fired unit at the Bay Front plant to biomass. The conversion will enable the facility to use 100 percent biomass in all three boilers. Xcel submitted an application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in February 2009. If approved, construction could begin in 2010 and operation in late 2012.[1][2]

The facility primarily burns waste wood from area forest harvesting operations. The existing biomass incinerators burn about 200,000 tons of waste wood each year. When the project is completed, the plant will use another 185,000 to 250,000 tons per year and will be capable of generating enough electricity for 40,000 homes. According to Xcel, the project will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 50 percent, sulfur dioxides by over 85 percent, and particulate matter by 90 percent.[1][2]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Northern States Power Company
  • Parent Company: Xcel Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 28.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 28.0 MW (1957)
  • Location: 122 N 14th Ave. W, Ashland, WI 54806
  • GPS Coordinates: 46.58683, -90.901367
  • Electricity Production: 337,075 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 565,192 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 642 tons (2005)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 3.81 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 795 tons (2005)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Bay Front

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.[3] 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.[4]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Bay Front Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 11 $80,000,000
Heart attacks 17 $1,900,000
Asthma attacks 180 $9,000
Hospital admissions 8 $190,000
Chronic bronchitis 7 $3,000,000
Asthma ER visits 11 $4,000

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

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