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March 28, 2002

State Supports Clean Burning Boiler for Southern Illinois Power Cooperative

MARION -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced grants totaling $6.8 million to assist the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) with construction of a new, cleaner burning, coal-fired boiler at its Marion Power Plant. The project is expected to create hundreds of new mining and construction jobs for southern Illinois.

The State of Illinois is providing SIPC with $6 million in Coal and Energy Development Bond funds and an $800,000 grant through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ (DCCA) Coal Infrastructure Program. The total construction cost of the new boiler is estimated to be $103.7 million.

"This project is significant because SIPC is replacing three outdated and inefficient cyclone boilers with a single state-of-the-art boiler system," Governor Ryan said. "The retrofit will allow the plant to generate more electricity, while emissions of sulfur dioxide will be reduced by 74 percent and nitrogen oxide by 68 percent."

"SIPC's commitment to use new technology to generate electricity from Illinois coal is right in line with Governor Ryan's energy policy," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "The state’s support for this project underscores the Governor’s commitment to increase the use of Illinois coal, while reducing pollution."

Last year, the Ryan administration approved legislation establishing a $3.5 billion incentive package designed to modernize existing mines, aid the construction of power plants to cleanly burn the 250-year supply of coal in Illinois, and most importantly, create new jobs for Illinois residents.

“At SIPC, we’re re-powering our existing boilers with new technology,” said Tim Reeves, SIPC’s chief operating officer, during the project’s groundbreaking in October of 2000. “This technology will provide economical and reliable electricity to the people of southern Illinois for years to come.”

SIPC has a long-standing commitment to burn Illinois-mined coal, which is typically high in sulfur. The cooperative operates one of just a handful of sulfur dioxide scrubbers in the state. And, it has always burned Illinois coal, virtually all of which comes from mines within 50 miles of its plant site. The Marion Plant generally uses 805,000 tons of Illinois coal per year, and the project will boost SIPC’s consumption of Illinois coal by 40 to 50 percent.

SIPC’s project will positively impact the job market in Illinois as well. It is estimated that 251 miners will be employed after the CFB project has been completed in March of 2003.

In addition, 200 construction workers will be employed during the plant’s peak construction period, 75 truck drivers will be needed to supply the plant’s raw materials, and yet another 1,350 employees will be needed to support the construction project.

The circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler will replace the boilers, electrostatic precipitators, stacks and coal silos on Marion Units 1, 2 & 3. The CFB will produce enough steam to serve three existing steam turbines with a total generating capacity of 120 megawatts (MW) of power, bringing the plant’s total coal fired generating capacity to 310 MW.

The CFB will burn primarily bituminous coal and bituminous coal refuse from southern Illinois, supplemented at times with small amounts of petroleum coke, sub-bituminous coal, tire-derived fuel, waste oil and wood chips.

SIPC is a generation and transmission cooperative, which is owned and governed by six member distribution cooperatives. The locally owned, not-for-profit nature of electric cooperatives means that any money spent or generated by SIPC stays in the hands of southern Illinois citizens. The state’s financial assistance will help minimize the rate increases the members will pay that are necessary to construct the CFB project.

Beyond selling wholesale power, SIPC is also a significant part of the local economy, contributing close to $30 million in payroll, property tax, sales tax and fuel purchases annually.

The State of Illinois, through its Coal Demonstration Program, has been developing and promoting the CFB technology for the last 20 years. The state helped to finance many of the first CFB units built in Illinois including units at the Archer Daniels Midland plant in Decatur and the Geon Company (formerly BF Goodrich) in Henry. More recently, the state retrofitted the campus steam plant at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a state-of-the-art CFB boiler and steam turbine. Today, the CFB boiler is viewed as one of the best-suited technologies for burning high-sulfur Illinois coal cleanly and efficiently.


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