Prairie Power, Inc. is a member-owned, not-for-profit, electric generation and transmission cooperative located in Jacksonville, Illinois. It was previously known as the Soyland Power Cooperative. PPI produces, purchases, and delivers over 1.6 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually to its 10 member-owned electric distribution cooperatives. PPI’s distribution cooperatives provide retail electric service to over 78,131 residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial consumer-members throughout central Illinois.
Soyland Power Cooperative was a wholesale power provider made up of 11 co-ops in central Illinois. In March 2000 Soyland Power Cooperative allied with Allegheny Electric Cooperative, Inc., the wholesale power supplier to Pennsylvania and New Jersey electric cooperatives, to form Continental Cooperative Services (CCS), marking the first time two geographically non-contiguous generation and transmission cooperatives have joined forces in this fashion.
As the Prairie State Energy Campus was being constructed Soyland Power, needing approximately 220 megawatts of baseload capacity, asked its members whether they wanted to participate in the Prairie State project. Of the G&T’s 11 members, six said yes. To isolate the other five from liability, Soyland formed a separate company, Prairie Power Inc. In the end, the remaining five members decided to join, so Soyland was merged with Prairie Power.
Existing Coal Plants
|Pearl Station||IL||1967||22 MW|
Possible conversion to biomass
In 2010, PPI and its electric distribution cooperatives adopted a renewable energy strategy that encouraged studying the opportunity of converting the Pearl Station to biomass. In 2010, PPI received a construction permit to install and operate equipment to prepare greater amounts of biomass fuels for use in the plant. PPI is now preparing and burning 10% biofuels in the plant. PPI said it is waiting for impending EPA regulations to determine if full biomass conversion is more economic than burning coal.
Proposed New Baseload Generating Station
In July 2007, the Board of Directors of PPI annnounced its commitment of ownership of 130 megawatts (or 8.22% ownership) of the Prairie State Energy Campus under development in southern Illinois. The Prairie State Project is a 1,600 megawatt coal-fueled power plant to be owned by Peabody Energy, PPI, the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Commission, Kentucky Muncipal Power Agency, Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, AMP of Ohio, and Southern Illinois Power Cooperative. This $4 billion project is currently scheduled to have Unit 1 be on-line by July 2011, with Unit 2 to be on line in June 2012.
Prairie Power, Inc.
PO Box 610
Jacksonville, IL 62651
Telephone: (217) 245-6161
Article and resources
- "About Prairie Power" Prairie Power Website, September 2009
- Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative "Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative Business Development Services", RECC website, accessed August 2009.
- "Soyland Power Cooperative forges new alliance", Illinois Country Living, May 2000.
- Alice Clamp, "The Midwest Powers Up" American Public Power Association Website, January-February 2008
- "Renewable Energy Programs and Activities" Prairie Power Inc. Website, accessed June 2011.
- "Prairie Power Assets" Prairie Power Website, September 2009