Over the last 10 years shipping coal by railroad to power plants has increased almost 50 percent, and rail accounts for 70 percent of the transportation of coal, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Though there are significant regional differences, transportation cost accounts for 40 percent of the average overall cost of coal.
With a mine-mouth coal plant like Prairie State, which is now supplying energy to Illinois electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, the transportation cost is eliminated. The Prairie State generating plant is state-of-the-art in efficiency and pollution control, but also has the cost advantage of a 30-year coal supply right there at the plant.
“We own the coal and will not be subjected to market-based rates for coal or transportation costs,” says Jay Bartlett, President/CEO of Prairie Power, Inc. “This plant will help make electric rates very affordable and very stable for decades.”
Prairie State Energy Campus is a mine-mouth energy complex with a 6.5 million ton per year coal mine located directly next to a super-critical, 1,600 MW power plant. Its owners and investors are eight consumer-owned municipal and electric cooperative utilities and Peabody Energy. Prairie State provides electricity for more than 2.5 million families in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia.