Dynegy received the award for its 40-year-old 915 megawatt Coffeen plant in Montgomery County, Illinois. The plant has the lowest sulphur dioxide emissions rate among US coal plants – 99% lower than the US coal plant average. Dynegy also uses low-sulphur Powder River Basin coal.
Southwestern (a unit of American Electric Power) operates the John W Turk Jr 600MW ultra-supercritical plant in Fulton, Arkansas, built in 2012 – the most efficient coal plant in the US whose plant's heat rate was 16% better than the US coal fleet average over the past year.
The Advanced Energy for Life Clean Coal Awards will be expanded to include the global coal fleet next year.
Coal used for electricity in the US has increased 170% since 1970 as the key emissions rate has been reduced by 90% on a per megawatt hour basis. From 2005 to 2013, the US coal fleet achieved a 9.4% annual decrease in the emissions rate, a greater percentage on a per annum basis than recorded any time in the previous 35 years, Peabody reported.
Peabody Energy chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce said America had a “long track record of using more coal, more cleanly to deliver a reliable supply of low-cost energy for families and businesses”
“We applaud this year's honourees for their leadership in advancing technologies to achieve our environmental goals as we work to create greater awareness about the tremendous environmental success story we can achieve with today's advanced coal technologies.”
Coal fuels more than 40% of US electricity – more than any other fuel, according to Peabody – and is the world's fastest-growing major fuel source, set to surpass oil as the world's largest global energy source in coming years.
Peabody said that one new 500MW coal plant was being brought on line every three days globally, with the majority of this power developed as high-efficiency supercritical and ultra-supercritical generation that delivered low emissions.
“As the world continues to use more coal, broad deployment of supercritical technology with advanced controls should be the global standard,” Peabody said.