Marshall Steam Station
Marshall Steam Station is a 2,119-megawatt (MW) coal- and gas-fired power station owned and operated by Duke Energy near Terrell, North Carolina.
- Owner: Duke Energy Carolinas
- Parent Company: Duke Energy
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 2,119.0 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 348.5 MW (1965), Unit 2: 348.5 MW (1966), Unit 3: 711.0 MW (1969), Unit 4: 711.0 MW (1970)
- Location: 8320 East NC Hwy. 150, Terrell, NC 28682
- GPS Coordinates: 35.595278, -80.964444
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements: see details below
In 2019, it was reported Duke Energy Carolinas could retire two units six years ahead of schedule, according to the depreciation study the utility completed for a rate-hike request. The company was listing the expected retirement of all five units at 2034.
In Duke Energy 2020 Integrated Resource Plan's base case scenario, Duke used a 2035 retirement year for the plant (this was not a commitment to retire the coal plant and simply dates for planning purposes). Under the plan, Duke would reportedly retire all of its power plants in the Carolinas that "rely exclusively on coal" within the next 10 years and add between 1,050 MW and 7,400 MW of storage to its portfolio under six scenarios outlined.
In 2021, the company was planning to complete construction activities to bring fossil gas to the station to allow 50% ngas co-firing on units 3 and 4 and up to 40% gas co-firing on units 1 and 2.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 11,425,788 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 85,050 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 14,319 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 486 lb.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Marshall 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 Marshall Steam Station
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||120||$43,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Renewal plant permit approved, with modifications
On Jan. 18, 2011, renewal permits for Duke Energy's Marshall Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station, and G.G. Allen Steam Plant were approved by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources division of water quality. Riverbend and Allen steam stations in Gaston County.The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits were renewed with some changes for the coal-fired power facilities that allow the discharge of treated wastewater to the Catawba River Basin, according to information from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
According to the department, the changes include:
- Quarterly monitoring for mercury was added to outfall from the coal ash ponds at the Riverbend Steam Station. This will establish a monitoring plan for mercury, selenium and arsenic that is consistent for all three permits.
- Fish tissue monitoring, at least once per permit cycle, has been added to all three permits.
- Semi-annual in-stream monitoring was added for arsenic, selenium, mercury, chromium, lead, cadmium, copper, zinc and total dissolved solids. The monitoring is to occur upstream and downstream of ash pond outfalls at all three facilities.
- Liquid coal ash storage structures shall meet the dam design and safety requirements according to the state administrative code.
The permits also require Duke to install groundwater monitoring wells and to comply with groundwater standards, according to information from the state. While the permits require monitoring, the state didn’t go far enough, according to Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman: “It’s disturbing to me that the state is allowing the unlimited release of mercury, selenium and arsenic into our waters." Merryman said he plans to look into the option of appealing the state’s decision on the permits.
May 3, 2012: Activists block shipment of mountaintop removal coal
On May 3, activists protested mountaintop removal mining by locking themselves to train tracks, preventing coal train loads from entering Duke Energy's Marshall Steam Station in North Carolina. The activists, affiliated with RAMPS, Katuah Earth First!, Greenpeace and Mountain Keepers said they would not leave until Duke agreed to end its use of mountaintop removal coal operations. The power burned in Marshall is used to power Apple's iCloud data center.
Coal Waste Site
"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment
Marshall Steam Station's Active Ash Pond is 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.
- Appalachian Voices
- Asheville Rising Tide
- Canary Coalition
- North Carolina Waste Awareness And Reduction Network
- Sierra Club North Carolina Chapter
- Southern Environmental Law Center
- Western North Carolina Alliance
Articles and Resources
- "Could more Duke Energy coal units retire early?," Charlotte Business Journal, October 9, 2019
- "Duke’s $3 Billion Secret," Sierra Club, March 29, 2021
- "Duke Energy considers retiring 9,000 MW of coal, adding vast amounts of storage," S&P Global, September 29, 2020
- "Marshall Steam Station," Duke Energy, accessed January 2022
- "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
- Sharon McBrayer, "State approves permit for Catawba County coal-fired power station" Hickory Daily Record, Jan. 18, 2011.
- "Breaking: Activists Block Shipment of Mountain Top Removal Coal" QuitCoal.org, May 3, 2012.
- Coal waste
- 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.