Whiting Generating Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

J.R. Whiting Generating Plant is a retired coal-fired power station owned and operated by Consumers Energy near Erie, Michigan.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Consumers Energy Company
  • Parent Company: CMS Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 345 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 106 MW (1952), 106 MW (1952), 133 MW (1953)
  • Location: 4525 East Erie Rd., Erie, MI 48133
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.794635, -83.445971
  • Technology:
  • Coal type:
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: All 3 units closed in April 2016.[1]

Unit Retirements

The plant's three coal units were retired in April 2016.[1][2]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,905,549 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 10,980 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 3,279 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 107 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Whiting Generating 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.[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 the Whiting Generating Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 38 $280,000,000
Heart attacks 61 $6,600,000
Asthma attacks 610 $32,000
Hospital admissions 28 $650,000
Chronic bronchitis 23 $10,000,000
Asthma ER visits 35 $13,000

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

Consumers Energy cancels Karn/Weadock expansion, announces retirement of seven aging coal units, and develops two new wind farms

On December 2, 2011, Consumers Energy announced that is was cancelling the proposed 800 megawatt Karn/Weadock Generating Complex Expansion because of "reduced customer demand for electricity due to the recession and slow economic recovery, surplus generating capacity in the Midwest market, and lower natural gas prices linked to expanded shale gas supplies." In addition, the company announced that it was suspending operations by the end of 2014 at seven existing generating units, included two units at the Whiting Generating Plant, two units at the Cobb Generating Plant, and two at the Karn Weadock Generating Complex. The company reported that it began construction in November 2011 of its first wind farm, the 100 MW Lake Winds Energy Park, in Mason County. Consumers Energy is also developing the 150 MW Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County.[5]

All three units of Whiting are planned for retirement in April 2016.[6]

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Michigan, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[7] The report mentioned Michigan based Whiting Generating Plant as having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[8]

Coal Waste Sites

Articles and Resources


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