Marion Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Southern Illinois Power Cooperative near Marion, Illinois.
- Owner/Parent Company: Southern Illinois Power Cooperative
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 272 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: 33 MW (1963), 33 MW (1963), 33 MW (1963), 173 MW (1978)
- Location: 11543 Lake of Egypt Rd., Marion, IL 62959
- GPS Coordinates: 37.620556, -88.955
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements: Unit 4 was retired in October 2020. 
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,717,690 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions:
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions:
- 2005 Mercury Emissions:
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Marion 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. 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 Marion Plant
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||7||$2,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed March 2011
New coal plant proposal
The Marion Plant was listed as a new coal plant project by the National Energy Tech Lab survey "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" in May 2007.  However, no new coal units have been built at this site. Instead, three 1963-vintage units and one 1978-vintage unit have received upgrades.
Units 1-3 were built in 1963 and are 33 megawatts (MW) each. Unit 4 (173 MW) was built in 1978. Since 2000 Units 1-3 were upgraded to use circulating fluidized bed technology. Unit 4 received a selective catalytic reduction retrofit to reduce emissions.
The cooperative planned to add a 140 MW "combustion turbine" in 2003 and an additional 70 MW of unspecified capacity in 2007. As of the 2006 Energy Information Agency powerplant database, the company had added two 70 MW gas-fired turbines.
In 2001, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) issued a violation notice to SIPC for alleged failure to maintain and operate the power plant’s Unit #4 generator in a manner consistent with good air pollution control practices, which resulted in more than 2,000 alleged instances of unacceptably high particulate emissions and excessive sulfur dioxide emissions. Such emissions can contribute to acid rain and aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma.
Sponsor: Southern Illinois Power Cooperative
Location: Marion, Illinois
Projected in service:
Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination
In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Illinois, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that was not recognized 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. The report mentioned Illinois' Joliet 9 Generating Station, Marion Plant and Venice Power Station were three sites that have groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.
Articles and Resources
- "SIPC to shut down Unit 4 at Lake of Egypt October 2nd". WSIL. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
- "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
- “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Tech Lab, May 1, 2007, page 12 (Pdf).
- "Marion Station Units 1, 2, and 3 CFB repowering project, Mt. Vernon, Illinois," Power, July/Aug 2003
- [U.S. Energy Information Agency, "Existing Generating Units in the United States by State, Company and Plant, 2006"]
- "MADIGAN: PROPOSED SETTLEMENT COULD CLEAR THE AIR OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS AT ELECTRIC CO-OP'S POWER PLANT," Press release by Office of the Illinois Attorney General, 1/18/06
- "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
- "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 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.