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Whitewater Valley Generating Station

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

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Whitewater Valley Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Richmond Power & Light in Richmond, Indiana.

In 2011 Richmond Power & Light of Indiana said it plans to switch its 100-MW Whitewater Valley coal station to burn gas produced from solid waste by the spring of 2013. Only one of Whitewater Valley's two units -- the larger unit -- is expected to be retrofitted for gasification; the smaller, older 34-MW unit will be shut down within the same timeframe. The conversion is estimated to cost $150 million to $160 million. The city is signing a contract with Cate Street Capital of Delaware, which is expected to finance and operate the new venture.[1]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Richmond Power & Light
  • Parent Entity: City of Richmond, IN
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 93.9 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 33.0 MW (1955), 60.9 MW (1973)
  • Location: 2000 U.S. 27 South, Richmond, IN 47374
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.8020, -84.8953
  • Electricity Production: 545,781 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 702,167 tons (2005)
  • SO2 Emissions: 11,833 tons (2005)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh: 43.36 lb/MWh (2005)
  • NOx Emissions: 1,118 tons (2005)

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Whitewater Valley

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.[2] 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.[3]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Whitewater Valley Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 12 $86,000,000
Heart attacks 18 $2,000,000
Asthma attacks 190 $10,000
Hospital admissions 9 $200,000
Chronic bronchitis 7 $3,200,000
Asthma ER visits 12 $4,000

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

  • Mercury Emissions:

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "Indiana muni to switch 100-MW coal plant to solid waste gasification," Platts, Aug 2, 2011.
  2. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  3. "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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