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Menasha Power Plant

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Menasha Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Menasha Electric & Water Utility in Menasha, Wisconsin. Menasha closed in 2009 and stopped burning coal. In May 2011, it was reported that the plant was considering reopening with biomass pellets replacing coal as its energy source.[1]

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Pressure for Plant Closure

On April 30, 2009 Stern Brothers & Co. released a report which called on Menasha Utilities to close down its Menasha Power Plant located in Menasha, Wisconsin. The report cited $41 million in debt, poorly crafted contracts and risk in continuing operations as the main reasons to close the plant. Additionally, the report cited worries about potential threat of actions by the state Department of Natural Resources, the EPA and the Sierra Club to force installation of pollution control equipment in the coal-fired plant that will cost money and could create risks of future litigation.[2]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Menasha Electric & Water Utility
  • Parent Company: City of Menasha, WI
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 21.1 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 7.5 MW (1954), 13.6 MW (1964)
  • Location: 198 River St., Menasha, WI 54952
  • GPS Coordinates: 44.199988, -88.458279
  • Electricity Production: 43,925 MWh (2006)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 79,671 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 80 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 40 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Menasha Power 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 Menasha Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 9 $66,000,000
Heart attacks 14 $1,600,000
Asthma attacks 150 $8,000
Hospital admissions 6 $160,000
Chronic bronchitis 6 $2,500,000
Asthma ER visits 9 $3,000

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

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "Firm studies possible uses for Menasha steam plant" Michael King, PostCrescent.com, May 10, 2011.
  2. Stern Brothers report to Menasha officials is blunt: Close the steam plant., Syndigate.info, April 30, 2009
  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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