Cameo Station

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Cameo Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Xcel Energy near Palisade, Colorado, located on the western side of the state, about 45 miles from the Utah border, on the Colorado river.

In Nov. 2007, Xcel announced that it planned to shut Cameo down by the end of 2010, citing the older plant's inefficiency and the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.[1] In Jan. 2009, Xcel announced plans to build a 1-MW test Concentrating Solar Power plant (the company's first) at the location, after Cameo is shut down. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer of 2009.[2] However, as of July 2010, the plant was still burning coal.

Xcel develops world's first solar/coal hybrid power plant

In July 2010, the first ever solar-coal hybrid power plant began to operate in Colorado. The project was a joint endeavor between Xcel Energy and Abengoa Solar, the unit of Xcel’s Cameo Station is intended to show that solar power can reduce the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants. The plant uses parabolic trough solar collectors to heat the water that goes into the coal-fired turbine, which reduces amount of coal used at the facility by 2 to 3 percent. For a cost of $4.5 million, the hybrid plant will produce the equivalent of just one of 49 megawatts from solar power.[3]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Public Service Company of Colorado
  • Parent Company: Xcel Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 66 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 22 MW (1957), 44 MW (1960)
  • Location: 4 miles east of Palisade on I-70, Palisade, CO 81526
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.148975, -108.318069
  • Coal Consumption: 300,000 tons (2005)
  • Coal Source: Colorado
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 335,331 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 2,108 tons (Unit 2 only)
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 731 tons (Unit 2 only)
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:


The following table gives more info on this plant's SO2 emissions levels, as well as on whatever SO2 emissions "scrubbers" (Flue Gas Desulfurization units, or FGDs) have been installed at the plant. Each of the plant's units is listed separately, and at the bottom overall data for the plant is listed.[4][5]

Unit # Year Built Capacity MWh Produced (2005) SO2 Emissions (2005) SO2 Emissions per MWh (2005) Average Annual Coal Sulfur Content FGD Unit Type FGD In-Service Year FGD SO2 Removal Efficiency
1 1957 22 MW 153,323 MWh N/A N/A 0.54% none N/A N/A
2 1960 44 MW 336,526 MWh 2,108 tons 12.53 lb./MWh 0.55% none N/A N/A

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cameo 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.[6] 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.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cameo Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 3 $23,000,000
Heart attacks 5 $530,000
Asthma attacks 60 $3,000
Hospital admissions 3 $52,000
Chronic bronchitis 2 $940,000
Asthma ER visits 3 $1,000

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

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. Xcel Officials Want to Shut Down Cameo Power Plant, NBC 11 News, Nov. 16, 2007.
  2. Xcel to Test Solar Generation at Cameo, Grand Junction Sentinel, Jan. 14, 2009.
  3. "World’s First Hybrid Coal-Solar Power Plant Goes Online in Colorado" Cameron Scott, Inhabitat.com, July 12, 2010.
  4. Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.
  5. EIA-767, Energy Information Administration, 2005.
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "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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