Harrington Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Harrington Station is a 1,080.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Southwestern Public Service Company near Amarillo, Texas.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Southwestern Public Service Company[1]
  • Parent Company: Xcel Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,080.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 360.0 MW (1976), Unit 2: 360.0 MW (1978), Unit 3: 360.0 MW (1980)
  • Location: N. Lakeside & Hwy. 136, Amarillo, TX 79108
  • GPS Coordinates: 35.298973, -101.747666
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peabody Coal), Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal)[2]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Conversions: All 3 units should be converted to natural gas before January 1, 2025.[3]
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 1 is scheduled for retirement in December 2036, Unit 2 in December 2038 and Unit 3 in December 2040.[4] All 3 units are still listed as retiring on the mentioned schedule but this information is from before the TCEQ ruling about the conversion to natural gas.

Texas Commission on Environmental Policy (TCEQ)

In October 2020, the TCEQ approved an "Agreed Enforcement Order" with Xcel Energy, Xcel violated the air quality standards at its Harrington Station. As part of the agreement Xcel has to convert the plant to natural gas and stop using coal as source of fuel before January 2025.[3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 8,454,511 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 21,235 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 13,228 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 289 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Harrington 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.[5] 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.[6]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Harrington Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 15 $110,000,000
Heart attacks 23 $2,500,000
Asthma attacks 260 $13,000
Hospital admissions 11 $250,000
Chronic bronchitis 9 $4,200,000
Asthma ER visits 15 $6,000

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

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