Hannibal officials are watching developments in Marceline, which has indicated a desire to get out of its Prairie State power supply contract.
HANNIBAL, MO — “Citing high costs, the small, northern Missouri town of Marceline announced last month it wants out of its power contract with the Prairie State Energy Campus. Those developments are being watched closely in Hannibal, which also has a power pact with the coal-fired power plant in Illinois.
‘We recognize Marceline has a real problem,’ said Robert Stevenson, general manager of the Hannibal Board of Public Works. ‘What’s different between them and us is Hannibal bought enough capacity (20 MW) off of that plant to replace a third of its needs. Marceline went out and bought enough of Prairie State to cover its whole load. They bought 100 percent. It was too big of a bite.’
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in March that Marceline, a community of 2,200 residents, is expected to lose almost $1.4 million this year.
At the time, City Manager Luke Lewis was wanting to negotiate an exit with Prairie State but didn’t rule out defaulting on the contract. A default by Marceline wouldn’t have a ripple effect in Hannibal, according to Stevenson.”
MARCELINE, MO — “An otherwise quiet meeting of the Marceline City Council on Feb. 19 took a dramatic turn as the meeting reached the last item on the open session agenda. City Manager Luke Lewis, in a prepared statement, explained his recommendation that the City of Marceline, ‘…pursue all avenues for eliminating any further public funding or increased risk…[related to] Prairie State.’
In his remarks, Lewis reviewed events leading to the 2004 contract to purchase electricity from the owners of the Prairie State power plant originally scheduled to go online in 2009. Lewis explained that the costs of this commitment have become too much for a small city to bear.
…Both Lewis and Mayor Mark Hatfield were careful not to blame anyone from previous city government for the current situation. Lewis commented, ‘All the information that has been provided to the City of Marceline since 2004 has led us and prior administrations to believe that Prairie State is a good investment and that very well could be the case in 15 to 20 years.” But Lewis stressed that the city does not have the resources to continue the investment as it is presently structured.”
Washington County residents voice concern over water permit
MARISSA, IL – “Concerns over water and landfill use by a power company in Washington County were addressed by state environmental officials Thursday.
Area residents and environmental advocates were among those gathered at a public hearing in Marissa held by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The hearing regarded a water permit Prairie State Generating Company has applied for re-issuance of because its five-year limit on its previous permit will expire.”
Hannibal Board of Public Works still not breaking even on Prairie State power plant
The Hannibal Board of Public Works owns a share of the Prairie State power plant, located approximately 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.
HANNIBAL, MO — “Since late last year the Hannibal Board of Public Works began making $600,000 a month payments for its ownership share in the Prairie State coal-fired power plant in Illinois. And while the sale of power generated at the plant has begun to lessen the monthly bill, it’s still not a break-even proposition for the city.
‘We’re still losing money,’ Bob Stevenson, the BPW’s general manager. ‘We are getting revenue from the sale of energy off of our piece of that plant. The revenue we’re receiving does not cover our whole expense yet and it won’t for a long time.’
The size of the loss varies from month to month. Less revenue comes in when one or both of the two generators at the plant, located approximately 60 miles southeast of St. Louis, is off line. That was the case during the entire month of November when Unit 1 was idle because of a turbine valve problem and some failed fiberglass piping.
Another factor in the size of the loss has to do with the value of power on the open market.”
PERCY, IL — “Have you ever noticed all of the steam at the Peabody Energy Campus power plant? At times, the water vapor coming from the cooling compartments engulfs the entire plant, depending on which direction the wind is blowing. Like fog, it could become a driving hazard at times. Prairie State Public Relations Director Ashlie Kuecker said there is no design flaw, and the system is meant to operate as it does in order to use the least amount of water. “You’re seeing (the vapor) now because of the colder air temperature,” she said. “It’s supposed to look that way.”
NEW YORK, NY —”here’s the response from Vic Svec from Peabody:
New supercritical coal plants represent another leap forward. Consider the Prairie State Energy Campus, with more than $1 billion in clean coal technologies and criteria emissions some 80% below the existing coal fleet… along with a carbon dioxide emission rate some 40% below existing plants. Prairie State is also a great example of green jobs, with thousands of workers involved in construction of the large coal plant. And Prairie State has a cost of fuel that less than one-third that of even currently suppressed U.S. natural gas prices.
Ironically, U.S. environmentalists have been a major reason more supercritical coal plants haven’t been used in the United States, even taking credit for killing state-of-the-art new coal construction in the past decade. China is building far more such plants because they recognize that coal is essential to power a healthy economy and the new generation of coal plants offer great environmental advantage. Also, Peabody is proud to be the only non-Chinese partner in GreenGen, which just started up in Tianjin, China, as a major coal gasification plant that will ultimately reuse carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery.”
ST CLAIR COUNTY, IL — “The owner of a Marissa power plant is being sued after a construction worker says his toe was cut off on the job site.
…Purdy says he was working for Bechtel Construction Company in November 2010 and assigned to remove a tack weld from a 2500-pound piece of steel at the Marissa coal plant. Purdy claims he believed the steel piece was being supported during the removal process.
However, while removing the weld, Purdy says the more than one-ton piece of steel fell and amputated a toe on his right foot. Purdy accuses Prairie State Generating of negligence for allegedly failing to maintain a safe work environment.”
CHICAGO, IL — “Fitch Ratings in a 2010 report said it expected the ratings of JPAs with an ownership interest in the plant would withstand the burden of incurring the additional $1 billion for cost overruns, but further problems could have a negative impact.
In the event of further pricing strains, the Fitch report warned: ‘The credit impact will not be uniform across the owner systems, but will depend on each member’s share of PSEC as a percentage of its resource mix, as well as its ability to absorb or pass through cost increases.’
While the 2010 contract establishes a fixed price, given the size and complexity of the project, unforeseen problems could still arise, Fitch warned. Energy costs are fixed through 2042. The contract also provides a guaranteed completion date and provides compensation in the event operations are delayed, but does not address potential future operational challenges or the possibility of federal legislation imposing carbon emission taxes.”
STEELEVILLE, IL — “A much welcome rain didn’t keep Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association members away from their annual meeting on Thursday, July 26. Nearly 300 registered members were in attendance to find out about current and future rates, the Prairie State Energy Campus and how regulatory issues impact members.
…Executive Vice President/General Manager Jim Riddle addressed the crowd and talked about Egyptian’s and Southern Illinois Power Cooperative’s current and future rates. He explained why in 2007 when the decision was made, the board believed ‘the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSGC) was a prudent choice and how predictions for rate increases have been within the ranges that were previously reported.’ Riddle also pointed out that PSGC is a state-of-the-art facility using the best available technology.
Riddle added that ‘our goal and philosophy for the rate adjustment was fairness and our target was to create a 2% margin for each member class in 2013 and beyond. The goal in 2012 was to operate at a loss to minimize the impact of the rate increase.’”
WASHINGTON, DC — “The report did not say why fewer units were built this year, but some energy analysts have noted the growth in power demand was still low — and the numbers were close — and some big units were still expected to enter service later in 2012.
One of the biggest new plants expected to enter service in 2012 was the second 800-MW coal-fired unit at American Municipal Power’s new Prairie State plant in Illinois in December.
…The United States now has about 341.6 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generation (29.7 percent of the nation’s total), 481.7 GW of natural gas (41.8 percent), 105.5 GW of nuclear (9.2 percent), 99.7 GW of water (8.7 percent) and 51.2 GW of oil (4.5 percent), according to FERC.
Renewables like wind (4.3 percent of the nation’s total), biomass (1.2 percent), geothermal (0.3 percent), and solar (0.3 percent), make up much of the rest of the nation’s installed generating capacity.”