Report: Virginia Cities Face Big Losses in Illinois Coal Plant

The Prairie State plant

Coal giant Peabody Energy promoted the controversial Prairie State Energy Campus to public officials in Virginia and seven other states as a cheap, long-term source of “clean coal” power.

But a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) charges that the troubled coal-fired power plant and coal mine operation will end up costing cities and towns in Virginia up to 100 percent more for that power than what was promised.

The Prairie State Energy Campus is a 1,600-megawatt, coal-fired electrical power station and coal mine under construction near Marissa, Illinois, less than 50 miles from St. Louis. About 95 percent of the project is being financed by more than 200 local government units in eight states: Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and West Virginia.

Prairie State Energy Campus includes a coal-fired generating plant and adjacent coal mine. The facility generates 1600 MWs of power, with 95 percent of the output already dedicated to eight (8) Midwestern-based public power utilities, Peabody says on the project’s website.

While all the units of government now face major financial risks, the most severely exposed are the scores of communities that signed contracts that will force them to pay their share for Prairie State – even if it never produces a single watt of power, the IEEFA report alleges.

At a news conference Wednesday, organizers say they will document the poor level of transparency about the status of the controversy plagued coal-fired power plant project and will show how participation in Prairie State already has created — and will continue to create for the long term – significant fiscal problems and other stresses for participating communities in Virginia.

 

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.

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