Gavin Power Plant

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The General James M. Gavin Power Plant is a 2,600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Ohio, USA. It is owned by Lightstone Generation LLC, a 50–50 joint venture of The Blackstone Group and ArcLight Capital Partners. Gavin is the largest coal-fired power facility in Ohio.[1]


The undated satellite photo below shows the coal plant in Cheshire, Ohio.

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Gavin's two units, rated at 1,300 MW each, were placed into service in 1974 and 1975.

In 2002, to avoid lawsuits relating to air pollution in the village of Cheshire, Gavin coal plant owner American Electric Power (AEP) corporation decided to buy out the town, by paying every homeowner 3.5 times the market value of their home to move. The total deal came to around US$20 million.[1]

AEP sold Gavin along with three other plants to Blackstone and ArcLight as a part of a $2.17 billion deal in 2016.[2] From 2018 to 2020, Lightstone’s power plant operations produced about US$1.1 billion in operating profit, according to estimates from Moody’s Investors Service. Up to 50% of Gavin’s cash flow comes from being on standby for emergency power.[3]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Lightstone Generation LLC
  • Parent Company: ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, Blackstone Group Inc
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 2,600 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 1,300 MW (1974), 1,300 MW (1975)
  • Location: 7397 State Rte. 7 North, Cheshire, OH 45620
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.9367, -82.1158
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 16,997,449 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 24,787 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 33,960 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 507 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Gavin Power Plant

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.[4] 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.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Gavin Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 45 $330,000,000
Heart attacks 72 $7,800,000
Asthma attacks 700 $37,000
Hospital admissions 34 $790,000
Chronic bronchitis 27 $12,000,000
Asthma ER visits 36 $13,000

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

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundments

General James M. Gavin Power Plant Fly Ash Pond and General James M. Gavin Power Plant Bottom Ash Pond surface impoundments are on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[6]

Gavin ranked 10th in terms of largest carbon dioxide emissions

According to a 2009 report by Environment America, "America's Biggest Polluters," the Gavin Power Plant is the tenth dirtiest plant in the nation, releasing 19.1 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2007. Ranking is based upon Environmental Protection Agency data.[7]

Gavin and Mercury

A 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project using EPA data found that Gavin is the 12th worst mercury polluter in the United States, emitting 937 pounds of mercury in 2008, the most recent year for data, up from 435 pounds in 2007, a 115.4 percent increase. Despite more than doubling its mercury emissions, the coal-fired plant is within mercury-emission limits set by the state. An American Electric Power spokeswoman told the Columbus Dispatch the increase at Gavin was due to a switch to a different type of coal that contained more mercury.[8]

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Ohio, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[9] The report mentioned Ohio based Cardinal Plant, Gavin Plant, Industrial Excess Landfill Superfund Site and the Muskingum River Plant as all having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[10]

Coal Waste Sites

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

<us_map redirect=":Category:Existing coal waste sites in {state}"></us_map>

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Martin, Richard (16 October 2016). "For $20 Million, a Coal Utility Bought an Ohio Town and a Clear Conscience". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. Johnson, Michael (September 14, 2016). "AEP sells Gavin Plant in Cheshire". Gallipolis Daily Tribune. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  3. McLaughlin, Tim (2021-03-02). "How private equity squeezes cash from the dying U.S. coal industry". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  6. Coal waste
  7. "America's Biggest Polluters: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants in 2007" Environment America, November 24, 2009
  8. "More mercury at Gavin" WOUB, March 18, 2010.
  9. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  10. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.

Related articles

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