Sierra Club, citizens pressure Illinois city to shut coal-fired Dallman units

The Sierra Club said Nov. 18 that concerned City, Water Light & Power (CWLP) ratepayers in Illinois delivered more than 1,000 petitions to the Springfield City Council, calling on it to make smart energy choices with the city’s budget instead of putting millions of dollars into the aging Dallman coal-fired power plant.

“CWLP’s financial troubles of the past few years can be directly linked to its operation of the aging, costly Dallman coal plant,” said Andy Knott, Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. “The City will save millions of dollars by phasing out the oldest units at the Dallman coal plant. The City Council needs to make a smart choice because if CWLP defaults again, it will threaten the bond rating for the city and jeopardize public services in Springfield.”

“Plain and simple: coal is a bad bet for Springfield. As a ratepayer, I want to remind the Springfield City Council that these are real costs that real people have to pay,” said Austin McCauley, longtime Springfield resident and CWLP ratepayer. “I’m asking our aldermen to push CWLP to make the right choice. CWLP needs to stop throwing good money after bad, and stop using ratepayer dollars to bail it out of this mess.”

Units 1 and 2 at the Dallman coal plant were built in 1968 and 1972 respectively, and are estimated to need at least $11m in upgrades to meet current public health standards. Ratepayers made the case to the Springfield City Council that Dallman Units 1 and 2 are past their useful lives and should be phased out so CWLP can further invest in clean energy.

Dallman Unit 1 has a maximum nameplate capacity of 86 MW and Dallman Unit 2 has a nameplate rating of 87 MW. In 1978, the completion of Dallman Unit 3, which has a maximum nameplate capacity of 199 MW, more than doubled the power station’s total generating capacity. Dallman Unit 4, added last decade, has a maximum capacity of 200 MW. In 2013, the four Dallman units used 1,272,859 tons of coal.

All four Dallman units are designed to burn coal with an approximate heat content of 10,500 Btu per pound. Particulate emissions from all four units are controlled by electrostatic precipitators. In addition, Dallman 4 utilizes a fabric filter bag house to aid in particulate emission control. The four units are equipped with scrubbers to control sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. The scrubber for Dallman Unit 3 was installed in 1980 and underwent a $30m upgrade that was completed in the spring of 2012. A second scrubber, serving Dallman 1 and 2, was put into operation in 2001. Dallman 4’s scrubber was built when the unit was constructed. Each unit is also equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR_, which operate year-round to reduce NOx emissions. The SCRs for the first three Dallman units were placed on line in May 2003.

In addition to the environmental control equipment described above, Dallman 4 is equipped with a powdered activated carbon injection system for mercury removal and a state-of-the-art cooling tower that eliminates the need to send high-temperature condenser cooling water back into Lake Springfield. The other three Dallman units use once-through condenser cooling water systems with water being obtained from Lake Springfield and discharged back into the lake.

In December 2013, Burns & McDonnell released the results of an Environmental Compliance Study the engineering firm conducted for CWLP to determine how the Dallman Power Station would be impacted by several future and developing environmental regulations and how the utility as a whole would be affected by costs associated with adding new pollution controls that mght be required to comply with those regulations.

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.