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Southwest Power Station

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Southwest Power Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by City Utilities of Springfield near Brookline Station, Missouri.

Southwest Power Station Unit 2 began operating in November 2010, and will begin producing power commercially in January 2011.[1]

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Background on Unit 2

In Nov. 2004, Springfield voters rejected the Southwest power plant, but City Utilities of Springfield (SCU) put the plant on the ballot as a special election in June 2006, at which point the vote passed.[2]

On Aug. 24, 2006, the Sierra Club appealed a Missouri judge’s decision to allow City Utilities of Springfield to go forward with plans to build Southwest II.[3] In August 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court declined to hear Sierra Club’s appeal of the permit.[4]

City Councilman Doug Burlison initiated a petition asking state auditors to consider whether the way SCU handled the permit was improper; the petition gathered 5,874 signatures, more than the 5,000 necessary to force a state audit. State Auditor Susan Montee’s 73-page report, released Dec. 18, 2007, criticizes SCU for behaving more like a corporation than a public utility, and suggests that SCU contributions to local organizations may violate the Missouri State Constitution. The Missouri Attorney General will be responsible for any final decision on SCU’s practices.[5]

The plant began operating in November 2010, and began producing power commercially in January 2011.[6] The plant burns about 87,000 pounds of coal an hour at full power.[7]

Project Details for Unit 2

Sponsor: Springfield City Utilities
Location: Springfield, MO
Coordinates: 37.150882, -93.389741
Capacity: 330 MW
Type: Conventional pulverized coal
In service: 2011
Status: Operating

Plant Data

  • Owner: City Utilities of Springfield
  • Parent Company: City of Springfield, Missouri
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 194 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 194 MW (1976)
  • Location: 5050 West Farm Rd. 1644, Brookline Station, MO 65619
  • GPS Coordinates: 37.152882, -93.387741
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,459,659 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Southwest Power 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.[8] 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.[9]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Southwest Power Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 4 $26,000,000
Heart attacks 6 $610,000
Asthma attacks 61 $3,000
Hospital admissions 3 $61,000
Chronic bronchitis 2 $980,000
Asthma ER visits 4 $1,000

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

Citizen Groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "New coal-fired power plant begins producing electricity in southwest Missouri" KSPR, Nov. 9, 2010.
  2. "Southwest 2: This Time, Voters Say Yes", News Leader, June 7, 2006.
  3. "Permit Errors and Future Pollution Levels Prompt Sierra Club Appeal", Missouri Sierra Club, September 2006.
  4. "Highest Court Last Resort for Sierra Club in Mo. Coal-Plant Duel", LegalNewsline, August 23, 2007.
  5. “Audit Criticizes CU; Utility Fires Back", News-Leader, December 19, 2007.
  6. "New coal-fired power plant begins producing electricity in southwest Missouri" KSPR, Nov. 9, 2010.
  7. Wes Johnson, "Southwest 2 power plant now burning coal" News-Leader.com, Nov. 20, 2010.
  8. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  9. "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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