Dickerson Generating Station

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Dickerson Generating Station
Dickerson Generating Station is located in Maryland
Dickerson Generating Station
Location of Dickerson Generating Station in Maryland
Country United States
Location Montgomery County, near Dickerson, Maryland
Coordinates 39°12′36″N 77°27′54″W / 39.21000°N 77.46500°W / 39.21000; -77.46500Coordinates: 39°12′36″N 77°27′54″W / 39.21000°N 77.46500°W / 39.21000; -77.46500
Status Operational
Commission date 1959
Owner(s) NRG Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Bituminous coal, natural gas, fuel oil
Power generation
Units operational 6
Make and model General Electric
Nameplate capacity 853 MW

The Dickerson Generating Station is an 853 MW electric generating plant owned by NRG Energy, located approximately two miles west of Dickerson, Maryland.


The facility consists of three 182 MW coal-fired steam generating plants, two 147 MW gas and oil-fired simple cycle combustion turbines, and one 13 MW black start and peaking turbine. The three coal-fired units are base-loaded and went into operation in 1959, 1960, and 1962 respectively.[1] Condenser cooling for these units is accomplished with once-through cooling water from the Potomac River at a rate of up to 400 million US gallons (1,500,000 m3) per day. Coal is delivered to the Dickerson Generating Station by CSX Transportation train. The two combustion turbines are General Electric Frame 7F gas turbines which went into operation in 1992 and 1993, and are normally fired with natural gas from a Consolidated Natural Gas company pipeline which traverses the Dickerson site.[2]

The generation plant's site property abuts the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, which follows along the Potomac River. The C&O Canal structures nearest to the plant are Lock 27 and the Monocacy Aqueduct.


The Dickerson plant began service in 1959.[3] All of the generating plants were built by the Potomac Electric Power Company, which sold them to the Southern Company in December 2000 as a result of the restructuring of the electricity generating industry in Maryland. The station was included in the spin-off from the Southern Company of Mirant in April 2001. Mirant was merged into GenOn Energy in 2010,[4] and GenOn merged into NRG in 2012.[5]

In 1991, the 900-foot (270 m)-long cooling water discharge channel from the power plant, which empties into the Potomac River, became the Dickerson Whitewater Course, a canoe and kayak training facility for the 1992 Olympic Games.

In December 2009, a $1.1 billion emissions upgrade was completed.[6] A new stack and cooling system reduced the amount of waste heat going into the cooling water discharge channel.

In 2013, NRG filed notice that it planned to decommission the coal generators by 2017, citing state emissions requirements.[7]


NRG operates the coal-fired units as base load generation and the combustion turbines as peaking generation. The Dickerson Generating Station is dispatched by the PJM Interconnection regional transmission organization.[3]

Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility[edit]

The Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility, a 56 MW generating incineration plant that burns municipal garbage and waste, is next to the Dickerson Generating Station. This waste-to-energy plant is served by the CSX railroad line, which delivers trash from a central collection center in Derwood to the plant. The facility began operations in 1995[8] and is operated by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, a state-owned corporation.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  2. ^ Maryland Department of Natural Resources (2007-03-19). "Environmental Review of the Air Pollution Control Project at the Dickerson Generating Station" (PDF). Maryland Public Service Commission Case No. 9087 docket. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b Mirant Corporation. "Dickerson Generating Plant." Accessed 2010-05-24.
  4. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (2010-04-12). "Merger of Energy Producers To Form $3 Billion Company". New York Times. 
  5. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (2012-07-23). "NRG Energy to Buy GenOn in Move to Bolster Stocks and Cut Costs". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Peltier, Robert. "Dickerson Generating Station, Dickerson, Maryland," Power, Vol. 154, No. 10, Oct. 2010
  7. ^ Alexander, Kate (9 December 2013). "Dickerson plant plans to stop using coal". The Gazette (Gaithersburg, Md.). Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. Baltimore, MD. "The Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility." Accessed 2010-05-24.
  9. ^ Maryland State Archives. Annapolis, MD. "Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority." Maryland Manual. October 10, 2008.