St. Clair Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

St. Clair Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by DTE Energy near East China, Michigan.


The power station is located in St. Clair County, Michigan, on the west bank of St. Clair River. The plant is across M-29 from the newer Belle River Power Plant in East China, Michigan.

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Saint Clair Power Plant is a coal- and oil-fired power plant owned by Detroit Edison, a subsidiary of DTE Energy. The first four units of St. Clair were built in 1953–1954.[1] Since then, three more generating units have been added to the plant. Unit 5 is St. Clair's only decommissioned unit. Its cyclone boiler produced 300 MW, and was taken out of service in 1979 due to a mechanical problem with the boiler. The stack for unit five was removed in 2012.[2][1]

On August 11, 2016 a fire broke out, damaging the plant.[3]


The plant lacks modern pollution controls, and is located in an area of Michigan that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated as “failing to meet federal air quality standards” for sulfur dioxide in January 2016. After a public pressure campaign, DTE said the full plant will be retired between 2020 and 2022.[4][5][6]

St. Clair Unit 4 retired early, in 2017, due to mechanical problems. The 169 MW unit was commissioned in 1954.[7]

Unit 1 was retired in March 2019.[8]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Detroit Edison Company
  • Parent Company: DTE Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,547 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 156 MW (1953), 169 MW (1953), 156 MW (1954), 169 MW (1954), 353 MW (1961), 545 MW (1969)
  • Location: 4901 Pointe Dr., East China, MI 48054
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.764091, -82.480047
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 7,818,581 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 42,374 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 9,907 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 266 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from St. Clair 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.[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 St. Clair Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 110 $800,000,000
Heart attacks 180 $19,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,700 $89,000
Hospital admissions 81 $1,900,000
Chronic bronchitis 65 $29,000,000
Asthma ER visits 90 $33,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "DTE Energy News Room – Detroit Edison History". Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  2. "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  3. Shepard, Liz (August 15, 2016). "45 agencies responded to power plant blaze". Times-Herald. Port Huron, Michigan. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  4. "DTE Announces Plans to Retire River Rouge, Trenton Channel, and St. Clair Coal-Fired Power Plants," Sierra Club, June 8, 2016
  5. "DTE Plans To Shut Down 8 Coal-Fired Units At 3 Plants," CBS Detroit, June 8, 2016
  6. "DTE Energy speeds up closing of coal-fired plants," Detroit News, March 28, 2019
  7. Sierra Club List of Coal Plant Retirements, January 8, 2018
  8. "Dominion retirements dominate March US generating capacity changes," SP Global, May 2, 2019
  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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