Burger Plant

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R.E. Burger Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by FirstEnergy near Shadyside, Ohio.

As of April 2015, the Burger plant stopped producing coal-fired electricity on a regular basis in 2010, but occasionally uses the facility when customer demand is high. Complete retirement is planned for 2016.[1]

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Ohio Edison Company, W.H. Sammis Power Station, Clean Air Act Settlement

On August 12, 2009 Ohio Edision Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., agreed to a consent decree issues by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. EPA to repower units 4 and 5 of the R.E. Burger's coal-fired power plant units using primarily biomass fuels (trees, grasses, agricultural crops and wood products). The decree modifies a 2005 consent decree of a similar nature, requiring Ohio Edison to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from its coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the plant, along with SO2 and NOx will decrease by approximately 1.3 million tons per year.

FirstEnergy's, as part of a $1.5 billion project to reduce toxic air pollutants, will be installing a flue gas desulfurization devices (scrubbers) on all seven of the company's coal-fired units in Ohio by 2011. The consent decree resolved a lawsuit filed in 1999 under the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act.[2]

The company's Burger Plant will be the largest coal-fired electric utility in the country to change to a majority biomass fuel plant. Sierra Club and other environmental groups, while commending FirstEnergy for its willingness to abandon coal as the primary energy source, are critical of biomass as a sustainable alternative for the Burger plant because of its sheer size.[3] The consent decree resolved a lawsuit filed in 1999 under the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act.[4]

Plant will not burn biomass

On April 1, 2009, FirstEnergy announced that units 4 and 5 will be retrofitted to produce electricity from woody biomass instead of coal, which would make it one of the largest such facilities in the U.S. The conversion will cost about $200 million and be completed by December 2012. FirstEnergy had faced an April 2 deadline to either close the plant, install $330 million in pollution controls, or convert to biomass.[5]

In November 2010 decided not to pursue the biomass option. The company cited the reason as an economic one, stating it was too expensive to undertake.[6]

2011: power station closed

According to a Nov. 17, 2010 report from Power-Gen Worldwide, FirstEnergy Corp. is planning to permanently shut down two coal-fired units, Units 4 and 5, at the Burger Plant by the end of the year. The units were included in the 2005 Consent Decree settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and FirstEnergy had the option to re-power, install scrubbers, or shut down the units as part of an effort to reduce the company's sulfur dioxide emissions. Rather than refit the Burger plant units, First Energy will complete a $1.8 billion retrofit at its Sammis Plant in Stratton, Ohio, according to the report.[7]

According to the US EIA, units 1-2 were retired in 1995, units 4-5 in 2010, and unit 3 in 2011.[8]

Plant Data

  • Owner: FirstEnergy Generation Corp.
  • Parent Company: FirstEnergy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 541 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 63 MW (1944), 63 MW (1947), 103 MW (1950), 156 MW (1955), 156 MW (1955)
  • Location: 57246 Ferry Landing Rd., Shadyside, OH 43947
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.910889, -80.760339
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,038,037 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Burger 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.[9] 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.[10]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Burger Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 53 $390,000,000
Heart attacks 86 $9,400,000
Asthma attacks 800 $42,000
Hospital admissions 40 $930,000
Chronic bronchitis 31 $14,000,000
Asthma ER visits 40 $15,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "No changes at the Burger Power Plant for another year," Times Leader, April 28, 2015
  2. "W.H. Sammis Plant in Ohio Being Retro-Fitted to Scrub Air of Pollutants," Linda J. Hutchinson, ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com, accessed November 6, 2009
  3. "Burger plant biomass retrofit proposal," Sierra Club, accessed November 5, 2009
  4. "Ohio Edison agrees to repower power plant with renewable biomass fuel," U.S. EPA, August 12, 2009
  5. Mark Niquette, "Coal plant to reinvent itself with cleaner fuel," Columbus Dispatch, April 2, 2009.
  6. "Ohio Utility Cancels Plans to Burn Wood at Plant" Associated Press, November 18, 2010.
  7. "FirstEnergy to Close Coal-Fired Units at Shadyside, Ohio, Plant" WVNS, Nov. 17, 2010.
  8. Form EIA-860 Data - Schedule 3, 'Generator Data' US EIA, 2014
  9. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  10. "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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