Second unit at new Prairie State coal plant goes commercial

Unit 2 of Prairie State Energy Campus’s 1,600-MW coal plant went live on Nov. 2, producing commercial power for its nine owners and their 2.5 million customers.

“Unit 2 is now under the control of the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) team, a significant milestone in the process of completing the largest coal-fueled power plant built in the U.S. in the last 30 years,” said a Nov. 2 statement from the plant owners. “Beginning November 3, 2012, all 1,600 megawatts of PSEC power will be scheduled by the PSEC Owners for the benefit of and use by its municipal and electric cooperative customer/members, from Missouri to West Virginia.”

The plant will actually exceed its rated capacity of 1,600 MW and be more efficient, therefore will have a lower cost to operate and be more friendly to the environment, the owners said. Both units have been tested and are being scheduled at higher than their nameplate capabilities of 800 MW per unit; Unit 1 at 812 MW and Unit 2 in excess of 809 MW.

PSEC also started sending its coal combustion residuals (CCRs) to the adjacent Near-Field facility, which also significantly reduces operating costs for the next 30+ years.

PSEC’s environmental operating characteristics will allow the units to perform in the top 6% of coal-fueled power plants in the nation, making it one of the cleanest power plants ever constructed, the owners said. The actual operating performance to date of PSEC’s air quality control system puts PSEC in the top 2% of coal-fired power plants in the nation for NOX removal, and top 10% of coal-fired power plants for SOX removal. Coal for the plant comes from the neighboring Lively Grove deep mine, which was developed to serve the plant. Unit 1 went commercial in June,

PSEC owners are eight Midwestern public power agencies and rural electric cooperatives and Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), the coal company that originally developed the project. In addition to Ohio-based American Municipal Power, the Prairie State equity partner group includes the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Kentucky Municipal Power Agency, Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, Prairie Power Inc., Southern Illinois Power Cooperative and Peabody Energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.