Southern Illinois Power Cooperative Acquires New Generation
Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) located at the Lake of Egypt near Marion provides the generation and transmission service to your Cooperative's substations. As many of you know, the generation and transmission of electricity is a very capital intensive industry and therefore represents the majority of your Cooperative's expense. In fact, the generation and transmission of the electricity to our local substations represented approximately 74% of your Cooperative's total cost of operation in 2010. In this article, I would like to briefly inform you about the history of SIPC and update you on their latest acquisition of new generation facilities.
In 1963, SIPC began producing electricity for three distribution Cooperatives in Southern Illinois utilizing Southern Illinois coal as the fuel source for three generation units (Units 1, 2 and 3). In the 1970's, demand for electricity grew significantly in the Southern Illinois Cooperatives and SIPC was faced with providing additional generation capacity. SIPC made the decision to construct another coal-fired generating unit (Unit 4) which began operation in 1978. In the 1990's and early 2000's, changes in the utility industry and additional load growth provided by three more distribution Cooperatives led SIPC to modernize its generation facility by replacing the original three boilers with one circulating fluidized bed boiler and adding environmental controls on the fourth unit which allowed SIPC to operate more environmentally friendly while continuing to use Southern Illinois coal as its fuel source. In addition, SIPC added two natural gas combustion turbines to provide additional generation capacity during peak power periods. Over the past decade, SIPC continues to experience more demand for electricity and in order to meet future power needs, SIPC evaluated options including construction of a new power plant, long-term contract to purchase power from another supplier and joint ownership of a power plant.
As previously reported, SIPC decided to acquire 125 megawatts of the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) in 2007. Prairie State is a planned two unit, 1,600 megawatt supercritical coal-fueled power plant to be located in Washington County, Illinois near Marissa. PSEC will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies to be among the cleanest major coal-fueled generation facilities in the nation. The plant will use pulverized coal technology in a supercritical combustion system which operates at increased temperatures and pressures to achieve maximum efficiency. In addition, the plant will include the most advanced environmental controls including nitrogen oxide controls, selective catalytic reduction, dry electrostatic precipitators, sulfur dioxide scrubbers and wet electrostatic precipitators to achieve some of the lowest emissions of any coal-fired generation facility in the nation.
PSEC will also incorporate mine mouth technology which means the plant will be fueled by coal which is mined just beneath the surface of the plant. This will virtually eliminate the transportation costs associated with the delivering the fuel to the plant which will lower the overall fuel costs.
Construction of PSEC began in the Fall of 2007 and is nearing completion. In fact, the first unit is expected to become operational in December 2011 and the second unit in mid 2012.
For almost 50 years now, your Cooperative's ownership in generation facilities at SIPC has provided a great advantage for our membership and provided a tremendous economic advantage for Southern Illinois by providing local jobs and using Southern Illinois coal. In addition, SIPC has operated its' coal-fired generation fleet in an environmentally responsible way and the addition of PSEC continues that commitment by achieving some of the lowest emissions for a coal-fired generation facility in the nation.
See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."
SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative 2007. All rights reserved.