Dunkirk Steam Station
Dunkirk Steam Generating Station is a idled 627.2-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Dunkirk Power LLC near Dunkirk, New York.
- Owner: Dunkirk Power LLC
- Parent Company: NRG Energy
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 627.2 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 96.0 MW (1950), Unit 2: 96.0 MW (1950), Unit 3: 217.6 MW (1959), Unit 4: 217.6 MW (1960)
- Location: 106 Point Dr. North, Dunkirk, NY 14048
- GPS Coordinates: 42.489775, -79.346674
- Technology: Subcritical
- Coal type: Sub Bituminous
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements:
NRG idled the coal plant in January 2016. It has been on reserve service only since 2012. EIA lists the status of all 4 units of the plant as "(OS) Out of service and NOT expected to return to service in next calendar year".
Conversion or Retirement
In 2015, NRG said it plans for the Dunkirk plant to be converted to natural gas, but to allow it to continue to burn coal as a back-up fuel. The proposal is being challenged in court. According to IEEFA, New York would like to keep the plant online due to local government reliance on the property taxes that the plant generates.
In November 2015, a report by the New York Independent System Operator, done with National Grid, found the Dunkirk plant could be mothballed as early as January 2016 without power disruptions, after some transmission updates. NRG is still planning on making the plant gas-fired, while critics say the money would be better spent on efficiency and transmission upgrades.
However, in July 2018 NRG Energy said it will not restart its Dunkirk power plant, because the cost to reconnect the facility to the state’s electric grid prohibits reopening the retired coal-fired plant as a natural gas-fueled facility.
In 2019 the city of Dunkirk received a $60,000 grant for a feasibility study to restore use of the NRG plant facilities.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,565,229 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 10,072 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 2,833 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 117 lb.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Dunkirk Steam 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. 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.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Dunkirk Steam Station
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||22||$8,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Articles and Resources
- Darrell Proctor, "NRG Ends Effort to Repower Dunkirk Plant," Powermag.com, July 13, 2018
- "EIA 860m" EIA 860m March 2020, accessed June 2020.
- "In Western New York, an Instructive Tale of Two Coal-Fired Plants," IEEFA, May 15, 2015
- "NRG Plant in Dunkirk Can be Closed Without Impacting Power Generation in New York," WRFA, Nov 2, 2015
- "Dunkirk Receives $60,000 Grant For NRG Plant Feasibility Study" wnynewsnow.com February 22, 2019
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Environmental Integrity Project, "Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants", July 2007.
- Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed Feb. 2009.
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