Energy Facilities Screening in Illinois: Mine-Mouth Power Plants
The recent emphasis on Illinois resource development and energy security was shown by the Illinois Legislature with the passage of Public Act 92-0012 (2001). At its heart is a bonding and grant program for building new coal-fired power plants that burn Illinois coal. Grants are also available for new transmission facilities that help move the power to market.
As of January 1, 2002, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) listed Illinois as having demonstrated reserve base of 88.2 billion short tons (bst) of coal, including 28.1 bst estimated as recoverable. The EIA showed 17 producing mines in 1999; only one of these was listed as a major coal mine in the United States (produced more than 4 million short tons in 2000). In 1999, Illinois generated 45.33% of its electricity using coal from 25 utility plants.
The ISGS completed coal availability maps for mining the Springfield Coal (Treworgy et al. 2000a) and the Herrin Coal (Treworgy et al. 2000c) in Illinois. These maps documented key conditions, such as coal thickness, depth, and previously mined out areas that control new development of coal resources. Since completion, text supporting these maps have been available for purchase as ISGS publications Industrial Minerals (IM) 118 (PDF; 16 M) (Treworgy et al. 1999a) and IM 120 (Treworgy et al. 2000b). All information used to create these maps are kept in a Geographic Information System (GIS) as part of a larger database by the Coal Section of the Energy and Earth Resources Center of the ISGS in Champaign, Illinois. A previous joint publication by the ISGS and the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), (Smith and Stall 1975) discussed coal and water resources but presented separate maps for each resource.
Under this research program, the Illinois State Water Survey was sub-contracted to update water resource availability information in areas of the state selected by the ISGS as a result of its GIS inventigations into geologically favorable sites for mining coal. This information was put into a GIS compatiable format for use with ISGS coal availability maps and other GIS coverages to relay information to potential data users.
ISGS, under a grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education ( IBHE), has completed a study using the Geographic Information System data from Survey publications IM 118 and IM 120 as a basis to rescale and highlight selected areas in Illinois that are geologically favorable for mining significant volumes of new coal, to show updated water resources data from the Illinois State Water Survey, (ISWS), and to create a new data layer showing the location of electrical transmission lines. All three layers, in combination, provide important information for locating new mine-mouth electrical generation facilities.