Chalk Point Generating Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Chalk Point Generating Station was a 728.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by GenOn Energy near Aquasco, Maryland.


The plant is located near the tiny incorporated town of Eagle Harbor, Maryland, on the Patuxent River.

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Plant Data

  • Owner: GenOn Energy
  • Parent Company: GenOn Holdings
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 728.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 364.0 MW (1964), Unit 2: 364.0 MW (1965)
  • Location: 25100 Chalk Point Rd., Aquasco, MD 20608
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.543133, -76.684530
  • Technology: Supercritical
  • Coal type: Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Blacksville 2 Mine (Consolidation Coal), Bailey Mine (Consol)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Both coal unit retired in June 2021.[2]


The Chalk Point plant began service in 1964.[3] All of the units at the Chalk Point Generating Station were built by the Potomac Electric Power Company, which sold them to the Southern Company in December 2000 as a result of the restructuring of the electricity generating industry in Maryland. The station was included in the Mirant corporate spin-off from the Southern Company in April 2001. Mirant was merged into GenOn Energy in 2010,[4] and GenOn merged into NRG in 2012.[5] In 2018 GenOn emerged from bankruptcy and re-acquired Chalk Point Generating Station from NRG Energy.[6]

Proposed retirement

In December 2013, NRG Energy signaled that it plans to retire the Chalk Point Generating Station and Dickerson Generating Station in May 2017.[7]

In May 2015 NRG asked PJM Interconnection for a delay to May 2019 in the deactivation dates for Dickerson and Chalk Point.[8]

In February 2016, NRG withdrew its de-activation notice for Chalk Point coal fired units, which are now slated to operate indefinitely.[9]

On August 13, 2020, new plant owner GenOn again filed for deactivation of both units of the Chalk Point Generating Station, with a set retirement date of June 1, 2021.[10] The coal units were shut down on schedule. However, natural gas generation continues at the site.[11]

Clean Air Settlement

On May 8, 2006 Mirant Mid-Atlantic (Mirant) agreed to eliminate nearly 29,000 tons of harmful pollution each year that is produced by its four coal-fired electrical plants in Maryland and Virginia as a result of allegations that the company had violated New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act. The U.S. EPA, Department of Justice and the states of Virginia and Maryland worked on a joint settlement agreement, which sought to reduce the output of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the four plants.

Under settlement terms, Mirant will cap NOx emissions on a system-wide basis from its Chalk Point Generating Station in Maryland, Dickerson Generating Station in Maryland, Morgantown Generating Station in Maryland, and its Potomac River Generating Station in Virginia. To meet these objectives Mirant will install pollution control equipment at its Potomac River and Morgantown power plants, and may also install controls at their other sites. According to Mirant, the company will be installing Flue gas desulfurization (scrubbers) to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) that will be operable by 2010.[12] The EPA notes that Mirant will install and operate two Selective Catalytic Reduction devices to control for NOx emissions at its Morgantown facility, as well as Separated Over-Fire Air technology at the Potomac plant.

Mirant also paid a $500,000 civil penalty, which was divided between Virgina and the U.S. government. Additionally, Mirant will spend at least $1 million on nine separate projects to reduce fine particulate matter (PM) from its Potomac River Generating Station.

"The reductions in NOx emissions required by this settlement will result in general improved air quality throughout the metropolitan area and the surrounding region," said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Today's settlement is evidence of the continued progress that we are achieving through the cooperative enforcement efforts of federal and state agencies."

NOx contributes to the formation of acid rain and also increases low-level ozone, which causes smog, and fine PM causes haze.[13]

On December 21, 2009, Mirant announced that it had completed a $1.67 billion installation at three of its coal-fired power plants in Maryland. The air quality controls were installed on three of the coal-fired units at the Morgantown and Chalk Point plants. The company said the systems will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 98 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent, and mercury emissions by 80 percent.[14]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 4,818,940 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 49,591 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 10,355 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 240 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Chalk Point

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.[15] 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.[16]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Chalk Point Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 10 $73,000,000
Heart attacks 17 $1,800,000
Asthma attacks 160 $8,000
Hospital admissions 8 $180,000
Chronic bronchitis 6 $2,700,000
Asthma ER visits 7 $3,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 923 January 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  2. "Md. Coal-Fired Power Plant Will Retire Five Years Early — Before Worker Retraining Kicks In – Maryland Matters". Maryland Matters. 2021-06-15. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  3. "Chalk Point Generating Station," GenOn Energy, accessed 2011-06-28
  4. de la Merced, Michael J. (2010-04-12). "Merger of Energy Producers To Form $3 Billion Company". New York Times.
  5. de la Merced, Michael J. (2012-07-23). "NRG Energy to Buy GenOn in Move to Bolster Stocks and Cut Costs". New York Times.
  6. "Our Locations," GenOn, accessed April 2019
  7. "Chalk Point and Dickerson coal plants set to retire," Sierra Club, Dec 6, 2013.
  8. "NRG delays planned deactivations for five Maryland coal units for another year," Generation Hub, May 1, 2015
  9. "SEC Form 10-K, NRG Energy, Inc". Securities and Exchange Commission. 2016-01-31.
  10. "GenOn Files to Deactivate Another MD Coal-Fired Power Plant in 2021,", August 13, 2020
  11. "Locations — GenOn". GenOn. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  12. "Chalk Point Generating Plant," Mirant's Chalk Point Generating Plant, accessed November 6, 2009
  13. "Clean Air Act Settlement to Eliminate Almost 29,000 Tons of Harmful Emissions in Virginia and Maryland," U.S. EPA, May 8, 2006
  14. "Mirant Completes $1.67B Air Quality Control Installation," P.R. Newswire, December 21, 2009.
  15. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  16. "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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