New Coal Plants — Delayed and More Expensive Than Planned

Grounded, The State Journal’s new energy blog, written by Pam Kasey and Taylor Kuykendall, has a link to an interesting story about a new coal-fired power plant in Illinois.  The news is not good.

The 1,600-megawatt Prairie State Energy Campus clean-coal plant is about to go online in Illinois, months late and at far higher cost than originally anticipate. The Toledo Blade solicited comments from some of the Ohio cities that have contracted for its power. It will cost more than originally thought:

Last year the Chicago Tribune reported that the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, an association of 33 cities that owns a 15 percent stake in the plant, predicted that its electric delivery rates to member communities would increase to $63.40 a megawatt hour in 2013, up 30 percent from 2007, largely because of their investment in the Prairie State project and a smaller coal-fired plant in Kentucky.

A megawatt of power on the spot market is currently $20 to $25, reporter Jon Chavez found. But the Ohio cities contacted say the Prairie State generation represents a small part of their portfolios and that it’s a good investment in the long run. The plant is scheduled to go online soon.

So this is what happens with brand new “clean” coal “campuses” these days.  (I love the “campus” thing, by the way.  Soon that’s what they’ll be calling mountaintop removal sites.)  The coal plant took longer than expected to build and will produce power that is much more expensive than alternatives.  The coal-fired power industry still spouts the line about coal being the cheapest, most abundant energy resource, even though that one stopped being true a few years ago.  Want to see WV’s most abundant energy resource?  Check this out.

As regular readers of The Power Line well know, Pam Kasey has been doing great reporting on WV’s electrical system, even if her editors are clueless about writing headlines.  Pam is a crack PATH Kremlinologist and got PJM’s Steve Herling to state publicly that PJM may make a final decision on PATH this summer, after the RPM auctions that just concluded last week.

We wish Pam and Taylor well on their new venture.  It’s great to have even more solid coverage of energy issues in WV.  I love the blog’s name, too.  Grounded.  It’s great.

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