Pirkey Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

H.W. Pirkey Power Plant is a 721.0-megawatt (MW) lignite coal-fired power station operated by Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) near Hallsville, Texas.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Southwestern Electric Power 85.9%[1], North Texas Electic Coop 11.72%[2], Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority 2.38%[3]
  • Parent Company: American Electric Power
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 721.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 721.0 MW (1985)
  • Location: 2400 F.M. Rd. 3251, Hallsville, TX 75650
  • GPS Coordinates: 32.461181, -94.484264
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Lignite
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: South Hallsville No 1 Mine (Sabine Mining)[4]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 1, the plant's only unit, is planned for retirement in 2023.[5]

Unit Retirement

In November 2020, SWEPCO said it will retire the Pirkey Plant in 2023.[5]

Coal Mine

The Pirkey Power Plant is the only customer of lignite from the South Hallsville No 1 Mine located close to 5 miles to the east of the facility. Ending the use of lignite at the powerplant will most likely have consequenses for the employees working at the mine.

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,275,794 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 2,641 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 4,191 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 1,142 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Pirkey 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.[6] 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.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Pirkey Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 20 $140,000,000
Heart attacks 30 $3,200,000
Asthma attacks 340 $18,000
Hospital admissions 15 $330,000
Chronic bronchitis 12 $5,400,000
Asthma ER visits 21 $8,000

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

Coal waste Sites

Pirkey ranked 73rd 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.[8] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[9]

Pirkey Power Plant ranked number 73 on the list, with 380,111 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Articles and Resources


  1. "AEP 2019 annual report, page 254" aep.com, accessed July 2020
  2. "Our Resources" northeasttexaselectric.com, accessed July 2020
  3. "Power Supply" ompa.com, accessed July 2020
  4. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cavazos, Michael (2020-11-05). "SWEPCO to retire Pirkey Power Plant in Hallsville in 2023". Longview News-Journal. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  9. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.

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