Newton Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Newton Power Station is a 1,234.8-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Illinois Power Generating Co near Newton, Illinois.

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Newton, Illinois.

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Illinois Power Generating Co
  • Parent Company: Vistra Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,234.8 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 617.4 MW (1977), Unit 2: 617.4 MW (1982)
  • Location: 6725 North 500th St., Newton, IL 62448
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.936111, -88.277778
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 2 retired in 2016, Unit 1 will retire before the end of 2027.[1]

Unit Retirement

In May 2016, plant owner Dynegy (now Vistra Energy) said it planned to cease operations at unit 2 of its Newton power station over the next year. The company attributed the shutdown on the failure to recover the plants' "basic operating costs" in the most recent MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) electricity auction.[2]

In September 2020, Vistra Energy said unit 1 of the power station will retire by the end of 2027.[3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 7,943,291 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 20,922 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 4,748 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 463 lb.

Coal Waste Sites

Ownership

The plant was owned by Ameren. In 2013 Ameren sold five of its coal plants, including Newton, to Dynegy. Dynegy has indicated they want Ameren Illinois to switch into the PJM, so Dynegy plants could sell their power in the higher-paying PJM capacity market. Or alternately, Dynegy would like to see MISO change the structure of its capacity market, including with auctions that look farther in the future than the current setup. Either way, Dynegy would likely get significantly higher payments for capacity promises from its Illinois power plants.[4]

On April 9, 2018, Texas-based Vistra Energy, the parent company for TXU Energy and Luminant, announced it had completed its merger with Dynegy. Vistra Energy will be the name of the combined company moving forward.[5]

Pollution controls

Under a deal brokered with state officials, Ameren agreed to curb mercury emissions and reduce smog- and soot-forming sulfur dioxide emissions at its coal plants (including Newton) by 2015, in line with updated EPA regulations. In September 2012 the Illinois Pollution Control Board unanimously granted Ameren a five-year reprieve from upgrading Newton's pollution controls, as Ameren said upgrading the facility would be too costly for the company and would force Ameren to shutter at least two of its other coal plants and lay off hundreds of workers.[6]

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Newton

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.[7] 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.[8]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 28 $200,000,000
Heart attacks 42 $4,600,000
Asthma attacks 460 $24,000
Hospital admissions 19 $460,000
Chronic bronchitis 17 $7,400,000
Asthma ER visits 29 $11,000

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

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "Vistra to retire 6.8 GW coal, blaming 'irreparably dysfunctional MISO market" Utilitydive.com, September 30, 2020
  2. "Dynegy to shutter Illinois coal plants," St Louis Business Journal, May 4, 2016
  3. "Sierra Club Calls for State Transition Planning as Vistra Announces Coal Retirements in Illinois, Ohio". Sierra Club. 2020-09-29. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  4. "Dynegy plan to switch grid operators would cost ratepayers," Midwest Energy News, Sep 22, 2014
  5. "Vistra / Dynegy Merger," Vistra Energy website, accessed August 2018
  6. Michael Hawthorne, "Illinois grants Ameren reprieve from cleaning up massive downstate coal plant," Chicago Tribune, Sep. 21, 2012.
  7. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  8. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

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