Clark Station

From Global Energy Monitor

W.N. Clark Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Aquila in Canon City, Colorado.

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Closure Planned for W.N. Clark Station

It was announced in the fall of 2010 that Black Hills Energy proposed retiring its two coal-fired units at the Clark Station in Canon City and would build a unit in Pueblo, Colorado that would be powered by natural gas. The retirement would be part of the company's proposal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal will be decided on by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission by the middle of December, 2010. The company originally stated it would consider using biomass to replace the coal at the plant, but later stated that it would cost too much to run the units on biomass.[1]

On December 15 2010, the Public Utilities Commission approved Black Hills Energy's plan to close its coal-fired power plant in Canon City as well as an associated rate increase for customers estimated at about 5 percent. Black Hills opted to expand its gas-fired plant presently under construction in Pueblo to replace the load generated by the Clark plant. The Pueblo plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2012, and could replace the Canon City plant immediately at that point.[2]

Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Aquila
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 43.7 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 18.7 MW (1955), 25.0 MW (1959)
  • Location: 550 West U.S. Hwy. 50, Canon City, CO 81212
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.434745, -105.250233
  • Electricity Production: 290,576 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption: 171,000 tons (2005)
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 420,159 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,463 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 10.07 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 1,057 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Clark Station

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 Clark Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 2 $14,000,000
Heart attacks 3 $320,000
Asthma attacks 38 $2,000
Hospital admissions 1 $31,000
Chronic bronchitis 1 $590,000
Asthma ER visits 2 <$1,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "Colo. hears on utility's emissions-reduction plan" Associated Press, November 20, 2010.
  2. "PUC approves closure of Canon City plant" The Pueblo Chieftain, December 16, 2010.
  3. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  4. "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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