Cross Generating Station

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Cross Generating Station is an operating power station of at least 2390-megawatts (MW) in Cross, Berkeley, South Carolina, United States.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Cross Generating Station Cross, Berkeley, South Carolina, United States 33.369972, -80.11275 (exact)

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

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: 33.369972, -80.11275

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - bituminous 556.2 subcritical 1984
Unit 2 operating coal - bituminous 590.9 subcritical 1995
Unit 3 operating coal - bituminous 591 subcritical 2007
Unit 4 operating coal - bituminous 652 subcritical 2008

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Santee Cooper [100.0%]
Unit 2 Santee Cooper [100.0%]
Unit 3 Santee Cooper [100.0%]
Unit 4 Santee Cooper [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Little Creek Mine, Glennbrook Taggart Marker Mine (Trinity Coal), Balkan Mine, Sugar Camp Mine, Birch River Mine Complex, Bevins Branch Mine, Mousie Mine

Pollution controls

On March 16, 2002 the U.S. EPA, the Department of Justice and the State of South Carolina announced a New Source Review requirements settlment with the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) to address alleged Clean Air Act violations at several of its coal-fired power plants in the state.

Under the settlement agreement, Santee Cooper will spend approximately $400 million until 2012 to install pollution control devices to decrease emissions at its Winyah Generating Station, Cross Generating Station, Jefferies Generating Station and Grainger Generating Station. In April of 2002 the U.S. Public Research Interest Group released a study stating that Santee's Winyah plant had one of the nation's most significant increases in pollution between 1995 and 2000.[1]

The EPA estimates that 70,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) (contributor to acid rain and cardiovascular disease) and NOx (contributor to ground-level ozone, acid rain and global warming) emissions will be reduced annually from Santee Cooper's four coal-fired plants in South Carolina. In addition the company was forced to pay a $700,000 fine to the State of South Carolina and $1.3 million in civil penalty fines to the federal government. Santee Cooper is also forced to spend at least $4.5 million to finance "environmentally beneficial" projects in the state.[2]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 9,551,079 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 9,411 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 4,242 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 62 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cross Generating 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 Cross Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 20 $140,000,000
Heart attacks 28 $3,100,000
Asthma attacks 330 $17,000
Hospital admissions 14 $330,000
Chronic bronchitis 12 $5,300,000
Asthma ER visits 19 $7,000

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

Ash and gypsum ponds

In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Santee Cooper's Senior Vice President Corporate Services, R.M. Singletary, stated that "all of Santee Cooper's FGD [Flue gas desulfurization] systems are a forced oxidation process, which makes gypsum".[5]

In an accompanying letter Santee Cooper's Vice President Generation, Phil Pearce, stated the bottom ash ponds contain fly ash and bottom ash while the gypsum pond contains "flue gas emission control residuals". Pearce stated that the ponds are not regulated either by state or federal agencies though the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) "performs periodic NPDES inspections and because these Units are permitted industrial treatment facilities for station wastewater, the SCDHEC inspection incorporates a review of the operation of the bottom ash ponds and the permitted discharge."[6]

Pearce also stated that:[6]

  • the Bottom Ash Pond number 1 was commissioned in 1983 and hasn't been expanded. He stated that the 14 foot high pond has a surface area of 12.8 acres and contained 23 acree feet of ash as of March 2009.
  • the Bottom Ash Pond number 2 was commissioned in 1995 and hasn't been expanded. He stated that the 14 foot dam has a surface area of 79 acres and a total storage ca[acity of 1158 acre feet but that. as of January 27, 2009, contained 783 acre feet of material; and
  • the Gypsum pond was commissioned in 1983 and hasn't been expanded. He stated that the 6 foot high pond has a surface area of 1 acre as used a an "an intermediary staging area and settling pond for the FGD system's wash water and gypsum. Continuous maintenance occurs to remove the gypsum material and transport it by truck to the permitted industrial solid waste landfill on site."

Opposing federal environmental regulations on greenhouse gases and other pollution

In February 2011, Santee Cooper's CEO and President, Lonnie Carter appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Water to oppose moves by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG)under the Clean Air Act. Appearing before the committee Carter boasted that Santee Cooper has "197 megawatts of renewable generation already online or under contract." However, he made no mention of the utility's heavy relianace on coal-fired power. In his testimony Carter complained about the potential impact of the EPA's move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through "new source performance standards".[7]

"There is currently no off-the-shelf technology available to address GHG emissions at a commercial scale - making it different in like and kind from other emissions regulated under the Clean Air Act. New construction projects will likely be significantly delayed because there is no clarity in how to address GHG in PSD [ed: Prevention of Significant Deterioration] permits. EPA's failure to provide the necessary tools, information, and direction will lead to permits being delayed, and complex legal challenges to permits. The Clean Air Act was simply not designed to address GHG emissions. The policy to limit GHG emissions should be set by Congress. Continuing on a path toward regulating GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act could stifle the already slow permitting process, raise costs, and limit economic development and industrial growth around our country at a time when we need jobs the most," he stated.[7]

Carter also flagged the utility's opposition to possible EPA moves to regulate "new rules over the next few years, including coal ash, maximum available control technology standards, cooling water intake rules, air quality standards for ozone, lead and particulate matter". Regulation these aspects of power generation industry, he claimed, they they "individually, they represent sizeable cost impacts. Together, they could be enough to significantly curtail economic development and may force the premature closing of low cost, reliable power facilities that keep our nation running."[7]

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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.