Walter Scott Jr. power station

From Global Energy Monitor
Part of the
Global Coal Plant Tracker,
a Global Energy Monitor project.
Download full dataset
Report an error
Related coal trackers:

Walter Scott Jr. power station is an operating power station of at least 1648-megawatts (MW) in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as Council Bluffs Energy Center.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Walter Scott Jr. power station Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States 41.181158, -95.837653 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

Loading map...

Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: 41.181158, -95.837653

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired coal - subbituminous 49 subcritical 1954 2015
Unit 2 retired coal - subbituminous 81.6 subcritical 1958 2015
Unit 3 operating coal - subbituminous 725.8 subcritical 1978
Unit 4 operating coal - subbituminous 922.5 supercritical 2007

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 MidAmerican Energy Co [100.0%]
Unit 2 MidAmerican Energy Co [100.0%]
Unit 3 other unknown/mixed entity types [9.4%], Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) [11.5%], MidAmerican Energy Co [79.1%]
Unit 4 Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) [9.55%], Corn Belt Power Cooperative [5.6%], Lincoln Electric System [12.66%], MidAmerican Energy Co [59.66%], Municipal Energy Agency of NE [6.92%], other unknown/mixed entity types [5.61%]


Unit Retirements

According to a January 2013 agreement between MidAmerican Energy and the Sierra Club, boiler one and boiler two (49 MW and 82 MW respectively) will be retired by April 16, 2016.[8]

Units 1-2 were retired in 2015.[9]


In 2003, MidAmerican began building a fourth plant, Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4. Unit 4 began operating on June 1, 2007; Lincoln Electric System later acquired 12.6% ownership of the plant. In 2007, Plains Justice filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The suit charged MidAmerican Energy with violating the Clean Air Act by operating new sources of carbon emissions without proper permits, and constructing these new sources without first obtaining approval from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. In June 2007, MidAmerican Energy agreed to pay $27,500 in fines after the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit claiming MidAmerican Energy had operated “11 emission points” at the Walter Scott Jr. power station without proper permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Sierra Club is preparing to file a second lawsuit over emissions. [10][11]

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 5,786,096 tons (2006), 11,969,514.26 (2008)[12]
  • SO2 Emissions: 17,523 tons (2006), 22,132.39 tons (2008)[13]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 10,796 tons (2006), 7,809.76 tons (2008)[13]
  • Mercury Emissions: 390 lb. (2005)

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Walter Scott Jr.

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.[14] 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.[15]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Walter Scott Jr. power station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 8 $59,000,000
Heart attacks 13 $1,400,000
Asthma attacks 140 $7,000
Hospital admissions 6 $140,000
Chronic bronchitis 5 $2,200,000
Asthma ER visits 9 $3,000

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

Walter Scott Jr. ranked 35th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[16] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[17]

Walter Scott Jr. power station ranked number 35 on the list, with 1,092,320 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[16]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Pacificorp 10-k 2019, page 143" accessed June 17,2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 "2017 Integrated Resource Plan, page 23", accessed June 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Generation Portfolio", accessed June 2020
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Corn Belt Power Generating Sources" , accessed June 2020
  5. "Electric Department", accessed June 2020.
  6. "Generation Resources", accessed June 2020.
  7. "MEAN financial Statement 2019-2020, page 7", accessed June 17, 2020
  8. "Consent Decree between Sierra Club and MidAmerican Energy Company, US District Court, Southern District of Iowa, Case No. 13-CV-21," page 6
  9. "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory", 860m March 2020
  10. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2007. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  11. “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Tech Lab, May 1, 2007, page 13. (Pdf)
  12. Iowa Operating Permit Application, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  13. 13.0 13.1 Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  14. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  15. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  16. 16.0 16.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  17. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.