Philip Sporn Power Plant
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of West Virginia and coal|
- Owner: Appalachian Power Company
- Parent Company: American Electric Power
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,105 MW
- Units and In-Service Dates: 153 MW (1950), 153 MW (1950), 153 MW (1951), 153 MW (1952), 496 MW (1960)
- Location: U.S. Route 33, New Haven, WV 25265
- GPS Coordinates: 38.967194, -81.921389
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
Proposed plant closure
Ohio Power seeks 2010 retirement of Sporn Unit 5
In October 2010, Ohio Power Co. filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for the approval of a December 2010 closure of the coal-fired Philip Sporn Power Plant unit 5, Ohio Power parent American Electric Power said in a Nov. 1 Form 10-Q filing. Sporn has five coal units, with unit 5 having 450 MW of operating capacity and an in-service year of 1960. The plant's coal suppliers in 2010 included Keystone Development, the Mammoth Coal unit of Massey Energy, Mine Rite Coal, and Newtown Energy. In September 2009, Appalachian Power filed an integrated resource plan (IRP) in Virginia that projected a 2010 shutdown for Sporn unit 5. The same IRP projected that Sporn units 1-4, with 580 MW of total capacity, would be retired in 2018.
As part of a 2007 New Source Review (NSR) consent decree, Sporn unit 5 is required to be retired, repowered or retrofitted by Dec. 31, 2013. AEP's plan to comply with the consent decree included retirement of Sporn unit 5 at the end of 2013. But based on present and projected economic conditions, Ohio Power said Sporn unit 5 is no longer economic to operate, with the unit forecast to produce negative operating income for the next two years, bringing the company to seek 2010 retirement.
AEP may increase Sporn MW retirement
On June 9, 2011, AEP announced that, based on impending EPA regulations as proposed, AEP’s compliance plan would retire nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW; refuel 1,070 MW of coal generation as 932 MW of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The cost of AEP’s compliance plan could range from $6 billion to $8 billion in capital investment through the end of the decade.
AEP’s current plan for compliance with the rules as proposed includes permanently retiring the following coal-fueled power plants:
- Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, Va. – 335 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014);
- Kammer Plant, Moundsville, W.Va. – 630 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014) (pictured above)
- Kanawha River Plant, Glasgow, W.Va. – 400 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014);
- Philip Sporn Power Plant, New Haven, W.Va. – 1,050 MW (450 MW expected to retire in 2011, 600 MW retired by Dec. 31, 2014); and
- Picway Power Plant, Lockbourne, Ohio – 100 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014).
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,054,471 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 39,741 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 9,240 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 238 lb.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Philip Sporn 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 Philip Sporn Power Plant
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||89||$33,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Coal Waste Sites
"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment
The Philip Sporn Power Plant Fly 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.
Additional surface impoundment issues
An engineering report submitted to EPA in November 2009 recommended upgrading the rating of two surface impoundments at Philip Sporn from "poor" to "fair." Engineers from Dewberry, an EPA contractor, said the dams were likely to hold in the event of an earthquake, but that repairs and additional tests were still necessary. EPA said it would consider the recommendations, and AEP said it would conduct further tests at the site. In addition to these investigations, the Department of Environmental Protection also discovered two nearby coal ash dams that officials were not aware existed, and that did not meet state safety regulations.
Articles and Resources
- “End of an Era: 3 Coal-Fired Plants Shut down Sunday,” WV MetroNews, May 29, 2015
- Barry Cassell, "Ohio Power seeks Ohio approval for fast retirement of Sporn coal unit" Penn Energy, Nov. 4, 2010.
- "AEP would shutter 5 coal plants to meet EPA rules" Coal Tattoo, June 9, 2011.
- "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
- Coal waste
- Ken Ward Jr., "EPA considers upgrading ratings of Mason coal-ash dams," Charleston Gazette, November 16, 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.