The 1600 MW Prairie State coal power plant in Illinois, US will start producing power soon, beginning a life of burning local coal that's expected to last until at least the 2040s.
PhysOrg.com reports that it is the largest coal fired power plant built in the United States for over 30 years. The company's website says it represents "a new roadmap for coal."
Prairie State is proving to be the exception concerning coal, which appears to be increasingly on the defensive. Two more power companies recently announced that 10 aging plants will be phased out in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, US.
The companies said it wasn't economical to upgrade them with newly required pollution controls. 100 coal power plants have closed since January 2010.
Prairie State has the advantage of owning and residing next to its own coal mine. The company has enough coal to run the plant for 30 years, providing electricity for 2.5 million households.
Peabody Energy, the world's largest private coal company, financed the plant, creating a customer for its Illinois coal.
"That's part of the genius. Our owners already own their fuel," spokeswoman Ashlie Kuehn said. "We're not subject to the market volatility of coal, or the transportation costs of bringing that in."
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