Prairie State Energy Campus

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Prairie State Energy Campus
Prairie State Energy Campus is located in Illinois
Prairie State Energy Campus
Location of Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois
Country United States
Location Lively Grove Township, Washington County, near Marissa, Illinois
Coordinates 38°16′40″N 89°40′4″W / 38.27778°N 89.66778°W / 38.27778; -89.66778Coordinates: 38°16′40″N 89°40′4″W / 38.27778°N 89.66778°W / 38.27778; -89.66778
Commission date 2012
Owner(s) Prairie State Energy Campus (consortium)
Thermal power station
Type Coal
Power generation
Units operational 2
Nameplate capacity 1,600 MW

Prairie State Energy Campus is a 1,600 megawatt base load, coal-fired, electrical power station and coal mine near Marissa, Illinois southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) features low levels of regulated emissions compared to other coal-fired power stations, capturing sulfur from high-sulfur coal mined nearby instead of transporting low-sulfur coal from elsewhere.[1][2][3]


Proposed and led by Peabody Energy Corporation, the project is jointly owned by eight public electric utilities with Peabody retaining 5% ownership,[4] and is being operated by Prairie State Generating Company, LLC. The first 800 MW generator went online in June[5] and the second in November, 2012.[6] The project's Lively Grove underground mine is expected to produce 6 million tons of high sulfur coal per year.[7]

PSEC stated it will be "among the cleanest major coal-fueled plants in the nation"[8] through use of clean coal technology, producing as low as one-fifth the levels of regulated pollutants as typical U.S. coal-fired plants.[2] Noting that projected emissions nevertheless include 25,000 tons of soot and smog-forming pollutants yearly, the Sierra Club and other organizations unsuccessfully sued to stop the EPA granting an air permit.[9]

According to the Chicago Tribune, PSEC will be the "largest source of carbon dioxide built in the United States in a quarter-century."[4] The company projects a 15% reduction in carbon dioxide pollution compared with other coal-fired power plants based on its use of efficient supercritical steam generators and no emissions from transporting coal.[10]

Judging that regulatory limits on carbon emissions are not likely in the near future, Peabody chose not to employ a more expensive integrated gasification combined cycle design that could more easily be retrofitted with carbon capture technology.[11] The Environmental Protection Agency first proposed limits in March 2012. The limit of 1000 lbs CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour electricity would require future coal-powered generating stations to capture approximately half of their CO2 output. The limit would not apply to existing and under-construction generating stations, including PSEC.[12]

PSEC started delivering electricity in 2012 at prices well above market rates.[5] Some of its investors resell the energy at a loss, some raise consumer rates, and two backed out of the project.[5] PSEC's original $2 billion estimated cost attracted municipal electric utilities to invest and to sign 28 year contracts. However, as of early 2010 the estimated cost had increased to $4.4 billion, requiring investors to borrow more money and raising the projected cost of electricity to undesirable levels.[4][13] Peabody in response capped construction costs at "approximately $4 billion" excluding some costs such as coal development and transmission lines.[13][14] In January 2013, with many municipalities adversely impacted by the high prices, the SEC subpoenaed information from Peabody.[15] In a bid to exit its share of the Prairie State project, the City of Hermann, MO filed a lawsuit in March, 2015 against the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission and the Missouri Public Energy Pool, claiming that its share of $1.5 billion in debt issued to support Prairie State imposed an unconstitutionally high level of debt on the city.[16]

Ken Bone is a night shift plant operator at the plant.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Tomich, Jeffrey (January 5, 2010). "Prairie State fuels debate: Coal-fired power plant will bring jobs but symbolizes fight over climate change". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "US: Prairie State coal-fueled power plant advances". EnerPub Energy Publisher. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Poe, William (April 2004). "King Coal Mounts a Comeback". St. Louis Commerce Magazine. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Hawthorne, Michael (July 12, 2010). "Clean coal dream a costly nightmare". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Tomich, Jeffrey (June 17, 2012). "Delays, cost overruns blemish Illinois coal project". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Moving Energy Forward: Prairie State's Unit 2 of Power Plant Goes Live" (Press release). Prairie State Energy Campus. November 2, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "New Illinois Mines Could Boost State's Production". Coal Age. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Clean Electricity from Coal". Prairie State Energy Campus. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Illinois - Prairie State/Peabody". Stopping the Coal Rush. Sierra Club. Retrieved 5 October 2010.  External link in |work= (help)
  10. ^ "PSEC Overview". Prairie State Energy Campus. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Romero, Simon (May 28, 2006). "2 Industry Leaders Bet on Coal But Split on Cleaner Approach". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Schoof, Renee (Mar 28, 2012). "New EPA pollution rules won't apply to Lively Grove". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Hawthorne, Michael (July 24, 2010). "Prairie State coal-fired plant to cap costs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  14. ^ "Prairie State and Bechtel Announce New, Fixed-Cost EPC Agreement Providing Greater Economic Stability" (PDF) (Press release). Prairie State Generating Company, LLC. July 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  15. ^ Tomich, Jeffrey (March 11, 2013). "For tiny town, gamble on coal plant becomes a fiscal crisis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ Barker, Jacob (March 30, 2015). "Hermann, Mo., sues power commissions over Prairie State coal plant". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 

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