Urquhart Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Urquhart Station is a 650 megawatt fossil fuel power station owned and operated by SCANA near Beech Island, South Carolina.

The coal plant was retired in 2012-2013 and converted to a 650 MW natural gas plant.[1]

Retirement and fuel conversion plans

On May 30, 2012, SCE&G announced plans to retire up to six coal-fired generating units at three locations by the end of 2018. The units range in age from 45 to 57 years and are the utility's oldest and smallest coal-fired units. The announcement included the following:[2]

  • Switching Unit 3 at the Urquhart Station near Aiken from coal to natural gas by the end of 2012, and planned retirement of Unit 3 at Urquhart by the end of 2018.
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Coal Plant Data

  • Owner: South Carolina Electric & Gas Company
  • Parent Company: SCANA
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 75 MW (1953), 75 MW (1953), 100 MW (1955) - retired in 2013
  • Location: 100 Urquhart Dr., Beech Island, SC 29842
  • GPS Coordinates: 33.435, -81.9111
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,209,994 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Urquhart Station

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 Urquhart Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 8 $59,000,000
Heart attacks 11 $1,200,000
Asthma attacks 140 $7,000
Hospital admissions 6 $140,000
Chronic bronchitis 5 $2,200,000
Asthma ER visits 8 $3,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. SCANA Corporation, "Urquhart Station", SCANA Corporation website, accessed April 2011.
  2. "SCE&G Announces Plans to Retire a Portion of its Coal-fired Generation," SCE&G press release, May 30, 2012
  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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