Wood River Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Wood River Station is a retired 500.1-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Dynegy near Alton, Illinois.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Dynegy Midwest Generation
  • Parent Company: Dynegy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 500.1 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 4: 112.5 MW (1954), Unit 5: 387.6 MW (1964)
  • Location: 3200 East Broadway, Alton, IL 62002, United States
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.863776, -90.133856
  • Technology:
  • Coal type:
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Units 4 and 5 retired in 2016.

Unit Retirement

In November 2015, Dynegy said it plans to retire the Wood River Power Station in mid-2016.[1] It was retired in June 2016.[2]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,414,698 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 7,628 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 2,529 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 125 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Wood River

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 Wood River Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 27 $200,000,000
Heart attacks 42 $4,600,000
Asthma attacks 460 $24,000
Hospital admissions 19 $460,000
Chronic bronchitis 17 $7,400,000
Asthma ER visits 29 $11,000

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

Coal Waste Site

Wood River ranked 90th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[5] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[6]

Wood River Station ranked number 90 on the list, with 267,066 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[5]

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment

Wood River Station East Ash Pond is on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[7]

Illinois Power Company and Dynegy Midwest Generation

On March 7, 2005 the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. EPA along with the State of Illinois announced a settlement between Illinois Power Company and its sucesscor, Dynegy, addressing alleged violations of New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act at company's Baldwin Energy Station. The EPA noted that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at the plant will decrease by 54,000 tons each year through the installation of approximately $500 million worth of new pollution control equipment. In addition to the Baldwin Generating Station, the Havana Power Station, Hennepin Power Station and Vermilion Power Station, Wood River Station were involved in the settlement.

The EPA stated that this "settlement requires installation of four new flue gas desulfurization devices (scrubbers) to control SO2; four new baghouses to control particulate matter (soot); and operation of existing control equipment, including three selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, year-round to control NOx. The entire five-plant system will be subject to annual emission caps to assure that significant system-wide reductions for both SO2 and NOx are achieved."[8]

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