Plum Point Energy Station

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Plum Point Energy Associates (PPES) – a member of LS Power Development – completed construction of Plum Point Energy Station Unit I, a 665 MW coal plant in Osceola, Arkansas, in 2010.

The plant location is near the Mississippi River, south of the town of Osceola. Unit I is a subcritical unit that burns coal from the Powder River Basin.

On December 12, 2011, the Sierra Club announced a legal agreement between LS Power and Sierra to cancel Longleaf, a 1200 MW proposed coal plant in Georgia, and Plum Point II, a 665 MW proposed coal plant in Arkansas. In addition, as part of the agreement, Sierra dropped its opposition to the Sandy Creek Plant in Texas and LS Power agreed to stricter air pollution controls at Sandy Creek. Sierra Club noted that Longleaf, which had first been proposed in 2001, was among the first coal plants among the hundreds of coal plants proposed -- and mostly defeated -- in the recent coal boom.[1]

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Project Details

Sponsor: LS Power Development
Location: Osceola, AR
Capacity: 1330 MW
Type: Subcritical
In service: 2010
Status: Operating

Financing

Proposal and Opposition

In 2006, the East Texas Electric Cooperative (ETEC), Inc acquired 50 MW ownership of PPES, Southwestern Electric Cooperative acquired 70 MW ownership of PPES,[2], the Empire District Electric Co. paid $87 million for 50 megawatts of the plant[3] and the Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi acquired an undivided ownership stake in the plant.

Empire District Electric also agreed to buy an additional 50 megawatts "with an option to convert those megawatts into an ownership stake in 2015."[3]

ETEC was turned away by the Rural Utilities Service when the agency issued a moratorium on new loans for coal-fired power plants in early 2008. The co-op filed a federal lawsuit over the moratorium and is seeking alternate financing from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) at a slightly higher rate than the original RUS loan.[4]

In March 2008, PPES applied to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for modifications to the air permit in order to construct an additional 665-MW pulverized coal boiler at its Plum Point Power Station. The proposed Unit II would share some facilities with Unit I under a third ownership. As a result, there are three separate applications pending before the ADEQ: a renewal of the combined permit for Unit I, a separate permit for combined facilities, a separate permit for the Unit II facilities.[5]

On August 26,2008 the Sierra Club submitted a letter to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Rural Utilities Service (RUS), claiming that they are in violation of federal law by approving investments in a number of new coal-fired projects without assessing environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The plants in question include the proposed Hempstead Turk plant and the Plum Point Energy Station. On September 25, East Texas Electric Cooperative (ETEC) filed a suit against the Sierra Club and USDA, claiming that USDA failed to process approvals related to the plants due to the threat of legal action.[6]

In December 2008, Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson announced that the company was reevaluating its role in developing new power plants, including Plum Point. Williamson cited the tightening credit markets and difficulty in permitted new coal plants as reasons for reconsidering its involvement in the siting, permitting, financing and construction of several new projects. Other plants include the Longleaf plant in Georgia, LS Power Elk Run Energy Station in Iowa, Midland Power Plant in Michigan, Sandy Creek Plant in Texas, West Deptford Project in New Jersey, and White Pine Energy Station in Nevada. As an alternative, the company will look at adding generation to its existing sites in the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.[7]

According to a November 2009 update from the Sierra Club, Plum Point has submitted remaining air modeling files for Unit II and the air permit application for the plant is now pending before the ADEQ.[8]

2011: Plum Point highest in U.S. toxic power plant emissions

A 2011 joint report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), EarthJustice, and the Sierra Club rated the top power plants for toxic power plant emissions. Some of the chemicals used to rank the states’ emission status included chromium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. In terms of sheer pounds of emissions of the four highly toxic heavy metals, Plum Point ranked highest in the nation.[9]

Resources

References

  1. "Longleaf Cancellation Marks End to Nation's Longest Running Fight Against Coal Plant," Sierra Club press release, December 12, 2011
  2. "LS Power Group Completes Coal Plant Capacity Sale," St. Louis Business Journal, December 7, 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "L.S. Power unit inks $87M power plant deal", St. Louis Business Journal, March 15, 2006.
  4. "Loss of federal loan fails to derail four other coal-fired power plants," Great Falls Tribune, October 18, 2008.
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed October 2008.
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed October 2008.
  7. "Dynegy to rethink new coal-fired power projects," Reuters, December 11, 2008.
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  9. "Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas are Top States in Terms of Toxic Power Plant Air Pollution" EIP, December 7, 2011.

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