Coal is a fossil fuel found in abundance in the earth’s crust and is a favoured source of energy in thermal power stations due to its cost effectiveness compared to other fossil fuels. Coal is an important component in electricity production in the United States with coal power accounting for 33% of the national electricity production in 2015. The United States is one of the top producers of coal-based energy in the world with an average annual production of 1.5 million GWh (Gigawatt hours). In 2012, the US represented 17.9% of the total global production. Coal power plants are spread all over the country and records from the Energy Information Administration showed that the country had 589 coal power stations as of 2011.
1. Robert W Scherer Power Plant
Robert W Scherer Power Plant is located in Juliette, Georgia. The plant is also known as Plant Scherer and is located along the flight path of planes from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. Robert W Scherer Power Plant has an energy production capacity of 3,520 MW making it the largest coal power plant in the United States and the seventh largest electricity producing plant in the country. The plant is comprised of four individual units each with a production capacity of 880 MW.
2. Gibson Generating Station
The Gibson Generating Station is a large coal power plant located in Montgomery Township, Indiana near the Wabash River. The coal power plant has an average power production capacity of 3,345 megawatts making it the second largest coal power plant in the United States. Construction of the original Gibson Generating Station was completed in 1972 with five units. The power station has a large human-made lake on the site named Gibson Lake which is used for cooling the plant. The power plant is operated by Duke Energy.
3. Monroe Power Plant
Monroe Power Plant is a coal-based power plant located on the shores of Lake Erie in Monroe, Michigan. Construction of the power plant was completed in 1974 and is currently owned by the DTE Energy Electric Company. Monroe Power Plant is comprised of 4 units each with a production capacity of 850 megawatts, and when all units are operational, the power plant has a total production of 3,200 megawatts. The electricity produced from the power plant is connected to the national grid through many 120-and 345-kV transmission lines.
4. Bowen Power Station
The Bowen Power Station is a coal-fired station which is located on the outskirts of Euharlee, Georgia. Also known as Plant Bowen, the power plant has a production capacity of about 3,200 megawatts making it one of the largest coal-based power plants in the country. Bowen Plant is operated by Georgia Power and connects to the southeastern power grid through several 500 kV transmission lines.
Greenhouse Emissions From The Power Plants
While coal power is an important and relatively cheap source of energy, its environmental impacts are detrimental with coal power being responsible for 83% of the total carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. The increased air pollution from coal-based power plants has made coal power plants see a decline over the years with several aging power plants being retired.