Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dynegy Closing Some Coal-Fired Units

Dynegy plans to shut down its Wood River Power Station in Alton, IL (465MW, 1954/1964); two of the units at its Baldwin Station (1,815MW, 1975, Bird's Eye View) and one of the two units at its Newton Station (1,230MW, 1977). (BizJournals) Judging from the satellite image, Baldwin has three units. The cuts will cost 190 jobs. But it may not reduce the coal hauled by the railroads because the remaining units should be operating closer to their capacity. As an example of how bad reporting can be, CInewsNow says the plants, not just some units, are being closed.

Michael Dickerson Newton just had some remodeling I think with scrubbers being installed in the past few years. (Facebook)

So they finally install sulfur scrubbers so that they can burn Illinois Basin coal instead of Wyoming coal just in time to quit using some of them.

The first big wind farm I remember seeing was east of where US-52 leaves US-41 in Indiana. But they just recently added a power line along US-52 to help take that juice to market. I've seen some other wind farms pop up in Illinois. Are there enough windmills to replace several coal power plants? Or is our economy really that bad? (Remember, State Line, Fisk, and Crawford were already closed years ago.) Do the winds blow steadily enough to provide baseline power? The coal powered units they are closing are baseline power. I read about a year ago that wind power has peaked because all of the good sites have now been developed. The Chicago Tribune had an article this week indicating that the EPA is going to allow wind turbine companies to quadruple their kill rate of Bald Eagles before any penalties are assessed.

Maybe another reason coal plants are closing is that outlawing incandescent light bulbs has helped. That is, America is using less electricity even if the economy is OK. This week TVA announced that they are not going to finish a nuclear power plant that they have been working on for years and into which they have already sunk $4 billion dollars. The article indicated that a new plant is not needed for another 20 years. So wind and/or conservation must be impacting the consumption of electricity. (I doubt that solar energy has had any impact on the Midwest electrical supply. They are adding some new generating capacity using the flow of our big rivers.)

Update: Power source graph.    Wind is helping some. And all of the money the Feds invested in solar power companies a few years ago did turn out to be a bad joke. Converted coal plants and new natural gas plants is replacing coal.

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