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AES Thames Generation Plant

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Thames Generation Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by AES near Uncasville, Connecticut. The plant generates and sells electricity to Connecticut Light & Power, and also supplies unused steam, a byproduct of electric generation, to Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, which owns the property and runs a recycled paperboard mill.[1]

On February 1, 2011, the plant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the state of Delaware, calling the shutdown temporary. AES Thames cited the increased cost of energy production and an "uneconomic and onerous" contract with Smurfit-Stone's predecessor. Smurfit-Stone sought a temporary restraining order and injunction to prevent the closing, which were to be heard by the New London Superior Court on Feb. 2, but AES Thames filed for bankruptcy the day before.[1]

The plant ceased operating after the bankruptcy. In December 2011, Thames and was sold to a subsidiary of BTU Solutions, based in Sugar Land, Texas. BTU plans to close and dismantle the plant, and lay off its workers by December 28, 2011.[2]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: AES Thames LLC
  • Parent Company: AES
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 214 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 214 MW (1989)
  • Location: 141 Depot Rd., Uncasville, CT 06382
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.434694, -72.097417
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,710,548 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 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.[3][4]

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
Total 1989 214 MW 1,258,706 MWh N/A N/A 1.31% circulating dry scrubber 1990 90%

Coal Sources

In 2008, the 486,980 tons of coal burned at the AES Thames plant in New London came from Webster, West Virgina.[5]

According to iLoveMountains.org, Thames purchases coal from companies who practice mountaintop removal mining (MTR), though does not burn coal directly from MTR mines.[6]

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Thames

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.[7] 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.[8]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Thames Generation Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 2 $11,000,000
Heart attacks 3 $310,000
Asthma attacks 25 $1,000
Hospital admissions 1 $30,000
Chronic bronchitis 1 $430,000
Asthma ER visits 1 <$1,000

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

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010, a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," reported that Connecticut had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash.[9][10] The report identified 39 more coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal sites in 21 states that have contaminated groundwater or surface water with toxic metals and other pollutants, including Thames, based on monitoring data and other information available in state agency files. The report built on an earlier 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites", which documented similar damage at 31 coal combustion waste dumpsites in 14 states. When added to the 67 damage cases that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has already acknowledged, the total number of sites polluted by coal ash or coal scrubber sludge comes to at least 137 in 34 states.

"In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment" found that the coal ash site for the AES Thames Generation Plant contained iron up to 1000 times the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), and arsenic up to 26 times. Documents suggest there are over 300 wells within two miles of the plant.[11]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

<us_map redirect=":Category:Existing coal waste sites in {state}"></us_map>

Articles and Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Patricia Daddona, "Montville's AES Thames coal plant files for bankruptcy" The day.com, Feb. 4, 2011.
  2. Janice Podsada, "NRG Biomass Plant Could Offset Impact of Montville Coal-Fired Power Plant's Closing," The Hartford Courant, December 16, 2011.
  3. Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.
  4. EIA-767, Energy Information Administration, 2005.
  5. "New England power plants that use coal and where the coal comes from", "Appalachian Voices", accessed March 30, 2009.
  6. "What's my connection?", ilovemountains.org website, Accessed March 2010.
  7. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  8. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  9. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  10. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
  11. Jeff Stant, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club report, August 26, 2010.

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