Meramec Power Plant
Meramec Power Station is a 1,041.0-megawatt (MW) coal, petroleum and natural gas-fired power station owned and operated by Ameren near St. Louis, Missouri.
- Owner: Union Electric Company
- Parent Company: Ameren
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,041.0 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 137.5 MW (1953), Unit 2: 137.5 MW (1954), Unit 3: 289.0 MW (1959), Unit 4: 359.0 MW (1961), GT1: 62.0 MW (1974), GT2: 56.0 MW (2000)
- Location: 8200 Fine Rd., St. Louis, MO 63129
- GPS Coordinates: 38.402530, -90.335768
- Technology: Subcritical (Unit 3 and 4), Natural Gas Steam Turbine (Unit 1 and 2), Petroleum Liquids (GT1), Natural Gas Fired Combustion Turbine (GT2)
- Coal type: Sub Bituminous
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source: Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal), Antelope Coal Mine (Navajo Nation), North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peabody Energy)
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Conversions: Unit 1 and 2 converted to natural gas in 2016.
- Unit Retirement: All 4 main units are scheduled for retirement in 2022.
In Feb. 2011, Ameren filed its integrated resource plan, outlining the company's strategy for meeting energy demand for the next 20 years, and said the updated coal regulations for air pollution, water use and coal waste disposal would probably prompt the company to close its 58-year-old Meramec Power Plant sometime between 2015 and 2020.
The company is looking at a nuclear- or natural gas plant to make up for the plant, rather than improvements in energy efficiency. Although the company found in the report that efficiency is cheaper, they said the company cannot collect the revenue from efficiency measures quickly enough to please its shareholders.
In July 2013, Ameren filed testimony with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) announcing it would phase out its Meramec coal-fired power plant in south St. Louis County by 2022, with an option to phase out the plant more quickly. The decision to phase out the Meramec coal plant was approved by Ameren’s Board of Directors, citing that the 61-year-old coal plant had reached the end of its useful life.
In June 2014, Ameren’s board voted to close the plant by 2022. The decision followed a study that found running it beyond that date would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with tightening environmental laws on soot and sulfur dioxide. The utility also cited recent equipment malfunctions, saying equipment failures “could create safety issues” in the aging plant.
In an October 2020 news article in stltoday.com, Ameren reconfirmed the 2022 closure year for all units of the Meramec Power Plant.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 6,929,442 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions:
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions:
- 2005 Mercury Emissions:
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Meramec 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. 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 the Meramec Power Plant
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||65||$24,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Coal Waste Site
- Meramec Power Plant Bottom Ash Pond
- Meramec Power Plant New Fly Ash Pond
- Meramec Power Plant Old Fly Ash Pond
- Meramec Power Plant Retention Pond
Meramec ranked 59th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste
In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill. The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.
Meramec Power Plant ranked number 59 on the list, with 481,318 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.
Articles and Resources
- "EIA 923 2019" EIA 923 2019.
- "EIA 860 database" EIA, accessed October 2020
- "Ameren’s renewable energy plan sparks questions about costs and its coal plants" stltoday.com, October 11, 2020
- Jeffrey Tomich, "Ameren cuts efficiency efforts to conserve bottom line" Feb. 25, 2011.
- "South St. Louis County Community Members Urge Ameren to Make Strong Clean Energy Investment, Create Responsible Timeline for Coal Plant Retirement," Sierra Club, July 7, 2014.
- "Meramec coal power plant, once celebrated, draws cheers with closure announcement," STL Today, July 12, 2014
- "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
- Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
- TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
- 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.