Roanoke Valley Energy Facility

From Global Energy Monitor

Roanoke Valley Energy Facility was a 240.1-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Westmoreland Partners near Weldon, North Carolina.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Westmoreland Coal Company
  • Parent Company: Westmoreland Coal Company
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 240.1 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 182.3 MW (1994), Unit 2: 57.8 MW (1995)
  • Location: 290 Power Pl., Weldon, NC 27890
  • GPS Coordinates: 36.441113, -77.617777
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Both units retired in 2017.


On December 28, 2016, plant owner Westmoreland Coal announced that it amended its power supply agreement with Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, to allow the shutdown by March 2017 of the two units at the coal-fired Roanoke Valley power plant. Under the amendment, Westmoreland will begin to provide the required contracted level of energy to Dominion through power purchase contracts, in lieu of providing it by operating ROVA.[1]

In December 2016 Westmoreland Coal said the plant would be closed by March 2017. Over the past few years, the company has reduced annual operations at the plant from 12 months to four months. The company is trying to sell the plant.[2]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,304,122 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Roanoke Valley

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.[3] 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.[4]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Roanoke Valley Energy Facility

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 4 $30,000,000
Heart attacks 6 $670,000,000
Asthma attacks 68 $4,000
Hospital admissions 3 $71,000
Chronic bronchitis 3 $1,100,000
Asthma ER visits 4 $1,000

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

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Roanoke and Coal Ash Waste

According to the 2010 report "Unlined Landfills?: The Story of Coal Ash Waste in our Backyard" by the Sierra Club North Carolina, state environmental inspectors discovered high levels of arsenic, iron and selenium in wetlands at the Arthurs Creek coal ash fill site in Northampton County in 2009, the 21-acre coal waste site for E.ON's Roanoke plant since 2004. There are plans to eventually build office buildings and a parking lot atop the fill, raising issues around potential contamination from the coal ash waste.[5]

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