Shawville Generating Station

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Shawville Generating Station was a 626.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by GenOn Energy near Shawville, Pennsylvania.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: (Leased Asset)[1] GenOn Energy
  • Parent Company: GenOn Holdings
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 626.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 125.0 MW (1954), Unit 2: 125.0 MW (1954), Unit 3: 188.0 MW (1959), Unit 4: 188.0 MW (1960)
  • Location: Rte. 879 and Rte. 970, Shawville, PA 16873
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.066778, -78.365833
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: All 4 units were converted to natural gas in 2016.

Conversion to Natural Gas

On February 29, 2012, the former owner NRG Energy said it will close seven of its coal generating stations by 2016, citing impending environmental regulations. This included Shawville.[2]

The coal plant was retired on July 31, 2016.[3] The plant was converted to a 590 MW gas plant in December 2016.[4]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,634,960 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 47,287 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 7,413 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 691 lb.


Shawville third highest in U.S. toxic power plant emissions

A 2011 joint report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), EarthJustice, and the Sierra Club rated the top power plants for toxic power plant emissions. Some of the chemicals used to rank the states’ emission status included chromium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. In terms of sheer pounds of emissions of the four highly toxic heavy metals, Shawville ranked third highest in the nation.[5]


The 2012 NRDC report, Poisoning the Great Lakes: 25 Coal-fired Power Plants Responsible for Half the Region's Mercury Pollution, found that 25 coal-fired power plants account for more than half of the mercury pollution emitted by the total of 144 electricity generation facilities in the Great Lakes region, and that almost 90 percent of the toxic emissions could be eliminated with available technologies. Over 13,000 pounds of mercury was emitted by the 144 coal plants into the air in 2010.

The coal-fired power plants with the highest mercury emissions are: Shawville Generating Station (Clearfield County, PA); Monroe Power Plant (Monroe County, MI); Homer City Generating Station (Indiana County, PA); Cardinal Plant (Jefferson County, OH); and Sherburne County Plant (Sherburne County, MN). A dozen power plants in Ohio and Indiana -- owned in whole or part by American Electric Power -- accounted for 19 percent of all mercury emitted in 2010 in the region.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Shawville

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 Shawville Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 61 $440,000,000
Heart attacks 100 $11,000,000
Asthma attacks 950 $49,000
Hospital admissions 47 $1,100,000
Chronic bronchitis 36 $16,000,000
Asthma ER visits 42 $16,000

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

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