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New Madrid Power Plant

New Madrid Power Plant
New Madrid Power Plant

New Madrid provides stable, economical power balanced with environmental commitment

The New Madrid Power Plant is important to Associated Electric Cooperative’s mission of providing an affordable and reliable power supply to member systems.

Associated Electric employs about 180 people at the plant, which is comprised of two 600-MW coal-based electric generating units owned and operated by Associated. Unit 1 was constructed in 1972. Unit 2 was completed in 1977.

The New Madrid plant and its grounds span about 3,900 acres on the Mississippi River. Its turbine room alone covers 1.07 acres.

New Madrid's 600-megawatt units burn top quality, low-sulfur coal, which travels 1,235 miles from Wyoming to New Madrid by rail, traversing four states. A coal train is a set of 115 cars, each holding about 121 tons of coal. A unit train's coal shipment totals some 13,900 tons.

Operating at 4,000 tons per hour, the plant's rotary unloading facility physically turns rail cars upside down, one at a time, to empty the coal in 20 seconds.

Coal is unloaded from the rail cars, placed on conveyors and carried to "ready piles." From there, it's loaded onto another set of conveyors and taken to crushing machines to ensure it is the right size for burning. Along the route, on the stack-out system, a dust suppression agent and water are sprayed to control dust. In addition, dust collection systems capture coal dust and transport it to coal bunkers to be burned with the rest of the coal.

Coal is burned in 200-foot-high furnaces at temperatures exceeding 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, creating high-pressure steam with temperatures exceeding 1,000 F.

The plant’s units use about 400,000 gallons per minute of Mississippi River water for cooling, depending on the weather. The water is filtered for debris and, afterward, 99 percent of the water is returned to the river in as good or better condition than before plant use.

New Madrid leads in applying fresh ideas

2012 – Associated Electric Cooperative receives Industry Best Practice by Electric Power Research Institute Plant Reliability Interest Group for its inventory naming convention developed through its reliability-centered maintenance program.

2001 - Associated Electric employees received Electric Power Research Institute's 2000 Technology Transfer Awards for their leadership in effectively applying EPRI products to benefit Associated Electric and its members. Specifically, employees were recognized for safety, installation and operations related to selective catalytic reduction equipment to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions.

April 2000 - The plant was inducted into The Powerplant Hall of Fame, a recognition program that spotlights power plants that use technology and practices to optimize competitive performance, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

2000 - Associated Electric was awarded the international "Project of the Year" for its installation of selective catalytic reduction equipment on Unit 2 at New Madrid Power Plant. The award recognized the cooperative as a leader in the industry for installing new technology to reduce emissions. Unit 2 was the first coal-based application in the world operating with 93 percent removal of nitrogen oxides with SCR equipment, according to editors of "Power" magazine, who presented the award.

1996 - Associated Electric’s "ambitious conversion" to low-sulfur coal earned its New Madrid and Thomas Hill power plants a "1996 Power Plant Award" from "Power" magazine. The national award recognized Associated Electric's successful conversion for environmental compliance and competitive positioning and its continuing efforts to better use low-sulfur coal as an example of "leadership in the application of fresh ideas, advanced technologies and equipment designs."

Safety is No. 1

Safety is a top priority at Associated Electric, and employees at New Madrid Power Plant aim for zero injuries.

Associated's initiatives to further improve safety include job briefings; tap-root analysis of incidents; continual training and promoting awareness; effective communications; tracking and benchmarking safety metrics.

Quick facts

Two generating units:

Unit 1 – Constructed 1972
Brown-Boveri turbine
Net capacity is 600 megawatts

Unit 2 – Constructed 1977
Brown-Boveri turbine
Net capacity is 600 megawatts.


We CARE about the environment and constantly seek ways to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of our units.

In fact, we have invested millions of dollars to improve air quality, reducing nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions.

Powerful career opportunities

Join the team that powers up Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa.