LS Power Elk Run Energy Station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} LS Power Elk Run Energy Station was a proposed coal plant to be built in Waterloo, Iowa that was cancelled in January, 2009.[1]

LS Power proposed a 750-megawatt pulverized-coal power plant five miles outside of downtown Waterloo, Iowa. Iowa census numbers indicate some of the state's highest poverty rates are in Waterloo; East Waterloo, the neighborhood nearest the plant, has a large African-American population and high asthma rates. The Waterloo development economic agency heavily courted LS Power for the project. In June 2007, LS filed for a draft air quality permit with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Several groups organized in opposition to the proposal; in May 2007, several hundred local residents turned out to oppose the annexation of land for the plant.[2]

Plains Justice: Fighting Coal Power in the Midwest USA.

On October 11, 2007, the Iowa City Development Board voted 3-2 to reject an application by the City of Waterloo to annex 345 acres of farmland, belonging to nonconsenting owners, for the construction of the plant. Given the ICDB’s rejection, the application must now be approved by both the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in order to go through. Community Energy Solutions is pressuring the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors to reject any attempts by LS Power to move the plant site outside city limits.[3]

A Nov. 2007 independent report -- authored by William Stigliani, director of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education -- found that the plant could jeopardize the health of area residents, countered LS’s arguments that new coal technology is safe, and noted that African-American residents may suffer disproportionately from the plant.[4]

In Dec. 2007, the mayor of Waterloo announced that the city will appeal the ICDB’s decision. In January 2008, the Black Hawk County Health Board called for a state moratorium on permits for coal power plants and stricter standards for state air pollution.[2]

In March 2008, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources denied a construction permit for the plant because the developers had not secured zoning approval for the project. Elk Run Energy planned to appeal the decision.[5]

In June 2008, Iowa's Department of Natural Resources received LS Power's revised air permit application.

In May 2008, Waterloo's City Council approved an ordinance to annex and rezone 260 acres of land for the Elk Run plant. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources still must approve the plan and will likely include public hearings in the final decision process.[6]

In December 2008, Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson announced that the company was reevaluating its role in developing new power plants, including Elk Run. Williamson cited the tightening credit markets and construction of several new coal plants as reasons for reconsidering its involvement in the siting, permitting, financing and constructing at least six new projects. Other plants include the Longleaf plant in Georgia, Midland Power Plant in Michigan, Plum Point Energy Station in Arkansas, Sandy Creek Plant in Texas, West Deptford Project in New Jersey, and White Pine Energy Station in Nevada. As an alternative, the company will look at adding generation to its existing sites in the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.[7]

On January 2, 2009, Dynegy agreed to dissolve its development venture with LS Power, in part because of the credit crisis.[8] On January 6, LS Power announced that because of the economic downturn, it was cancelling plans to build the Waterloo plant.[9]

Project Details

Sponsor: LS Power Development
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Capacity: 750 MW
Type: Conventional Pulverized
Projected in service: 2011
Status: Cancelled


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  1. “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Tech Lab, May 1, 2007, page 13. (Pdf)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2007. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  3. "Power Plant Foes Ask County to Oppose Project", WCF Courier, October 17, 2007.
  4. "Report Calls for Moratorium on New Coal Plants", Electricity Forum News, November 2007.
  5. "Iowa Agency Rejects Proposed Coal Plant", Associated Press, March 6, 2008.
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush, Sierra Club, accessed November 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  7. "Dynegy to rethink new coal-fired power projects," Reuters, December 11, 2008.
  8. Jim Polson, "Dynegy to Dissolve Development Venture With LS Power," Bloomberg, January 6, 2009.
  9. Perry Beeman, "Proposal for Waterloo coal plant is scrapped," Des Moines Register, January 7, 2009.

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