University of Iowa Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

University of Iowa Main Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by the University of Iowa on UI campus in Iowa City, Iowa.

In 2009 the University said the plant used about 93,000 tons of coal a year.[1] However, since 2008 the university has reduced the use of coal by 60 percent, and plans to replace all coal use at the plant with biomass by 2025.[2]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: University of Iowa
  • Parent Company: State of Iowa
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 21.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 3.0 MW (1947), 3.0 MW (1956), 15.0 MW (1974)
  • Location: 207 West Burlington St., Iowa City, IA 52242 (just east of the Iowa River)
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.657384, -91.539914
  • Electricity Production: 88,068 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption: 93,000 tons (2009)
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 304,369 tons (2006), 53,130 tons (2008)[3]
  • SO2 Emissions: 1,689 tons (2002), .17 tons (2008)[4]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 38.36 lb/MWh
  • NOx Emissions: 8.48 tons (2008)[4]
  • Mercury Emissions:

Student Opposition

In May 2010 student environmental advocates at the University of Iowa said they were unhappy with the lack of progress their college had made to reduce the amount of coal used to produce power for their school. “It’s great in that we voiced our concern,” said Desire Christensen, a UI graduate student in the College of Public Health and a leader of the ECO Hawks, a campus environmental group. “My surprise or disappointment is that there isn’t currently a committee at the university meeting about energy plans.”

The students attended a meeting where they voiced their opinions to reduce emissions and shut down the plant as soon as possible. “What we understood from the meeting is that they don’t have a plan,” said Graham Jordison, a recent graduate of Iowa State University and a representative from the Sierra Club. “If there is one, they don’t really know where it is.”

School administrators are considering the use of biomass as a transitional fuel to reduce the amount of coal burned at the school.[5]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Utilities & Energy Management" University of Iowa Website, accessed December 2009
  2. "The University of Iowa has set a goal of no longer burning coal by the year 2025," KCRG, Feb 20, 2017
  3. Iowa Operating Permit Application, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  4. 4.0 4.1 Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  5. Sam Lane, "Some concerned about UI’s use of coal boilers" The Daily Iowan, May 10, 2010.

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