E.W. Brown Generating Station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} E.W. Brown Generating Station is a coal-fired power station near Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Units 1-2 are planned for retirement in in February 2019. Unit 3 (464 MW) will continue operating.[1]


The plant is situated on the banks of Lake Herrington near Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

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Plant Data

Kentucky Utilities Company Clean Air Act Settlement

On February 3, 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. EPA announced that Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty and spend approximately $135 million on pollution controls. The settlement is a result of alleged New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act violations.

In March 2007, the EPA filed a complaint that KU modified its largest coal-fired generating unit at their E.W. Brown Generating Station without installing required pollution controls. The EPA noted that the "unit has been operating since 1971, and the modifications made in 1997 allowed the unit to increase the amount of coal it burned and increase the amount and rate of emissions for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. The government discovered the violations through an information request submitted to KU."

In the settlement KU agreed to install new pollution control equipment on the E.W. Brown Generating Station that will effectively reduce combined emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 31,000 tons per year. Particulate matter emissions will also be reduced through new pollution controls by approximately 1,000 tons per year. An additional $3 million will be spent on projects to mitigate passed alleged emissions violations.[3]

KU will be installing three scrubbers to reduce SO2 pollution, a contributor to acid rain, at three of its coal-fired units by 2020.[4]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,978,892 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 45,191 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 6,683 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 161 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the E.W. Brown Generating Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[5] The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma-related episodes and asthma-related emergency room visits, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, peneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution is formed from a combination of soot, acid droplets, and heavy metals formed from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot. Among those particles, the most dangerous are the smallest (smaller than 2.5 microns), which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities.

The table below estimates the death and illness attributable to the E.W. Brown Generating Station. Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[6]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the E.W. Brown Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 68 $500,000
Heart attacks 100 $11,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,100 $57,000
Hospital admissions 50 $1,200,000
Chronic bronchitis 41 $18,000,000
Asthma ER visits 61 $23,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

E.W. Brown ranked 50th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[7] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[8]

E.W. Brown Generating Station ranked number 50 on the list, with 637,230 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[7]

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundments

Two of E.W. Brown's coal ash surface impoundments are on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[9]

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