Where can I find open GIS/location data on coal power plants?
May 28, 2008 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Is there open, free, or inexpensive comprehensive data on the location of coal-fired power plants in the United States available anywhere?

I'm a senior political science student doing research on the health, environmental, and policy impacts of coal power plants on communities around the country and I'm looking for either (ideally) a GIS dataset of all coal plants or (less ideal but still workable) a flatfile list of coal plant locations. The data will be used for mapping and statistical purposes. I've looked through my school's resources, and they don't have what I need. I've also tried calling the Department of Energy, but they don't make that information available if they have it. This kind of data can be leased from Platts or elsewhere, but my budget is extremely limited (department isn't going to give funding to an undergrad). Any advice?
posted by OverlappingElvis to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States (you would also need to find the retired plants that are no longer licensed).

However, this doesn't really tell you about the living dead ones that are rarely turned on, so you would want to look at actual fuel usage. FERC Form 423 has the actual use and quality of fuel.

There are a few companies that aggregate EIA/FERC/etc data, but Platts is the one that I know does stuff with maps.
posted by milkrate at 10:51 AM on May 28, 2008


There is a comprehensive list of power plants from 2000 here; some poking around on the DOE website may get you additional/more recent info.
posted by TedW at 10:52 AM on May 28, 2008


Also consider a literature search for similar topics and contacting academics who have used this type of data before.
posted by milkrate at 10:55 AM on May 28, 2008


It's a little bit of a long shot, but it couldn't hurt to contact the people at PASDA --they have lots of data and if they don't have what you need, they might be able to help you get it --
posted by nnk at 11:04 AM on May 28, 2008


I think you can get what you need by taking the EPA eGRID dataset.

They've got latitude/longitude information in there (eg: I can see that the Eielson AFB Central Heat & Power Plant in Fairbanks is located at latitude 64.6833, longitude -147.0833.

Given that, mapping the power plants should be fairly simple. Note: eGRID includes non-coal power plants -- you'd need to ditch them first. But that also should be fairly simple (toss out any line item where PFUELCT is not equal to COAL).
posted by aramaic at 11:44 AM on May 28, 2008


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