Sunnyside Cogeneration Facility

From Global Energy Monitor

Sunnyside Cogeneration Facility is a 58.1-megawatt (MW) waste coal and limestone-fired power station owned and operated by Sunnyside Cogeneration Associates in Sunnyside, Utah.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Sunnyside Cogeneration Associates
  • Parent Company: ACI Energy Inc (50%), Colmac Utah Inc (50%)[1]
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 58.1 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 58.1 MW (1993)
  • Location: 1 Power Plant Rd., Sunnyside, UT 84539
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.546249, -110.391057
  • Technology: Subcritical Fluidized Bed Technology
  • Coal type: Waste Coal / Limestone
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Sunnyside Waste Coal Site (Sunnyside Cogeneration Assosiation)[2]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements:

Sunnyside Cogeneration plant

From the Annual review and forecast of Utah coal production and distribution 2006 by Michael D. Vanderberg

The sunnyside Cogeneration plant, located in the town of sunnyside, Utah, was originally designed as a true cogeneration plant, which would have supplied 5% of its power to a commercial greenhouse. However since the plant burns waste coal, it is designated as a "qualifiying facility" which under the federal public utility regulatory policy act, is exempt from the cogeneration requirement, and the proposed commercial greenhouse was never developed. All the sunnyside's power goes directly to the grid.

The sunnyside plant, rated at a net of 51 MW, uses circulating Fluidized-bed combustion technology to burn waste coal left from the kaiser sunnyside coal wash operation and coal from the old star point waste pile. The heating value of the sunnyside fuel varies from 4000 to 5500 BTW per pound. The sulfer content of the fuel avarages about 1,5% Constellation's sunnyside power station consumed about 488,000 short tons of waste coal during 2005. At that rate, Sunnyside waste coal "reserves" on site are expected to last three to five more years. In anticipation of the sunnyside resource depletion, Constellation purchased a waste coal pile from a wash plant associated with the now closed Cyprus Plateau Star Point mine. That fuel is of higher quality than that from sunnyside, averaging 5700 to 6000 Btu per pound with 0.7% sulfar. With these additional reserves, sunnyside Cogen should have enough fuel to last until 2025.

In contrast to conventional coal combustion, where high-ash content hampers performance, the use of Fluidized-bed combustion at the sunnyside plant requires the addition of noncombustible material. The plant consumes about 48,000 tons of pulverised limestone per year, most of which is purchased from the graymont limestone plant in the crickey mountains, in order to achieve proper combustion and eliminate sulfer emission. Bag house technology is used to remove fly ash.

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 483,942 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,013 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 4.86 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 493 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Sunnyside Cogeneration Facility

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 Sunnyside Cogeneration Facility

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 3 $20,000,000
Heart attacks 4 $460,000
Asthma attacks 58 $3,000
Hospital admissions 2 $44,000
Chronic bronchitis 2 $850,000
Asthma ER visits 2 <$1,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "Colmac Sunnyside", accessed October 18, 2020
  2. "EIA 923 July 2020" EIA 923 July 2020.
  3. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  4. "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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