Prairie Creek Generating Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Prairie Creek Generating Station is a 213.4-megawatt (MW) gas- and coal-fired power station operated by Interstate Power and Light near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Interstate Power and Light
  • Parent Company: Alliant Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 236.4 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 14.6 MW (1997), Unit 2: 23.0 MW (1951), Unit 3: 50.0 MW (1958), Unit 4: 148.8 MW (1967)
  • Location: 3300 C St. Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.944053, -91.638984
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Antelope Coal Mine (Navajo), Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Conversions: Unit 4 was converted to natural gas in 2017.[2]
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 2 retired in 2010, Units 1 and 3 are scheduled for retirement in 2025.[2]


According to plans filed with the Minnesota Public Service Commission on November 1, 2010, Alliant Energy plans to immediately close coal-fired boilers at six sites in Iowa, including unit 2 (23 MW) of Prairie Creek.[3][4]

In 2015 Alliant Energy said it was planning to convert unit 4 (149 MW) from coal to natural gas in 2017.[5] Unit 4 was converted to natural gas in November 2017.[6]

Units 1 and 3 are scheduled for retirement in 2025.[2]

May 2011: Fire

On May 19, 2011, officials said firefighters used water and foam on smoldering coal at the Prairie Creek plant. Alliant Energy workers reported that smoke was coming from a coal bunker. Firefighters cooled the smoldering coal with some water, then raised a hose up 10 stories and pumped foam into the top of the bunker. They also put foam on smoldering coal in two nearby bunkers. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is being investigated.[7]

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 1,264,616 tons (2006), 836,910.3968 tons (2008)
  • SO2 Emissions: 2,217.24 tons (2008)[8]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 1,750.16 tons (2008)[8]
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Prairie Creek

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.[9] 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.[10]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Prairie Creek

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 17 $130,000,000
Heart attacks 27 $3,000,000
Asthma attacks 290 $15,000
Hospital admissions 12 $290,000
Chronic bronchitis 11 $4,700,000
Asthma ER visits 18 $7,000

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

Coal Waste Sites

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory", 860m March 2020
  3. Carrie Lowry La Seur, "Alliant to Close Coal Boilers at 7 Sites Across Iowa" Plains Justice Today, Nov. 8, 2010.
  4. ILP Action Plant, excerpt from submitted by Interstate Light and Power to Minnesota PUC, accessed 11/26/10
  5. "Alliant plans power plant fuel change," The Gazette, June 27, 2015
  6. "Alliant shifting largest Cedar Rapids coal unit to burn natural gas," The Gazette, Nov 1, 2017
  7. "Coal fire fought at Cedar Rapids power plant" AP, May 19, 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  9. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  10. "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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