Pearl Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Pearl Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Soyland Power Cooperative, now Prairie Power Inc. (PPI), near Pearl, Illinois.

In 2010, PPI adopted a renewable energy strategy that encouraged studying the opportunity of converting the Pearl Station to biomass. In 2010, PPI received a construction permit to install and operate equipment to prepare greater amounts of biomass fuels, and began burning 10% biofuels in the plant. PPI said it is waiting for impending EPA regulations to determine if full biomass conversion is more economic than burning coal.[1]

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Soyland Power Cooperative
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 22.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 22.0 MW (1967)
  • Location: Rte. 100 South, Pearl, IL 62361
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.4489, -90.6142
  • Electricity Production: 174,493 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 205,885 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,541 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 17.66 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 1,039 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Pearl 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.[2] 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.[3]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 14 $100,000,000
Heart attacks 21 $2,300,000
Asthma attacks 230 $12,000
Hospital admissions 10 $230,000
Chronic bronchitis 8 $3,800,000
Asthma ER visits 15 $6,000

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

Pearl ranked 26th 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.[4] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[5]

Pearl Plant ranked number 26 on the list, with 1,661,744 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[4]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Renewable Energy Programs and Activities" Prairie Power Inc. Website, accessed June 2011.
  2. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  3. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  5. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.

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