Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility

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Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility, also known as the Cogentrix Virginia Leasing Corporation plant, is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Cogentrix (which is owned by Goldman Sachs) near Portsmouth, Virginia.

The plant was deactivated in 2015.[1]

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Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility and Environmental Justice

The Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility has 53,186 residents within a 3-mile radius and 4,244 within a one-mile radius. Within the 3-mile radius, 40.4% of residents are non-white with a per capita income of $19,424, below the U.S. per capita income of $21,587,[2] raising issues around environmental justice and coal. Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility is among over 100 coal plants near residential areas.

Plant Data

  • Owner: Cogentrix-Virginia Leasing Corp.
  • Parent Company: Cogentrix (owned by Goldman Sachs)
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 115 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 57 MW (1988), 57 MW (1988)
  • Location: 1 Wild Duck Ln., Portsmouth, VA 23703
  • GPS Coordinates: 36.868746, -76.36034
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 941,945 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility

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 Cogentrix Portsmouth Facility

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 6 $41,000,000
Heart attacks 9 $960,000
Asthma attacks 97 $5,000
Hospital admissions 4 $100,000
Chronic bronchitis 4 $1,600,000
Asthma ER visits 5 $2,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "FERC approval sought for sale of shut Portsmouth Genco coal plant in Virginia," Hubs Biz, Feb 12, 2016
  2. United States - Income and Poverty in 1999: 2000, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000.
  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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