Jeffrey Energy Center

Jeffrey Energy Center (Jeffrey EC) is a sub-bituminous coal-fired power plant located seven miles (11 km) northwest of St. Marys, Kansas, at 39°17′10″N 96°07′01″W / 39.28611°N 96.11694°W / 39.28611; -96.11694Coordinates: 39°17′10″N 96°07′01″W / 39.28611°N 96.11694°W / 39.28611; -96.11694. Jeffrey EC is jointly owned by Westar Energy, Topeka, Kansas and Aquila Corp., Kansas City, Missouri. Jeffrey EC is composed of three separate 720-MW units providing a name-plate energy center capacity of 2.16 gigawatts. Unit 1 began operation in 1978, unit 2 in 1980 and unit 3 in 1983.

Jeffrey EC is a typical modern coal-fired energy center. Its primary mission is to convert the chemical energy available from its Wyoming Powder River Basin sub-bituminous coal supply into electric energy.


Jeffrey EC came into operation during the late 1970s in the wake of an energy crisis created by a quadrupling of world oil prices. Its inauguration in July, 1978 was heralded with a visit by Vice President Walter Mondale praising its use of domestic coal reserves at a time when many power stations were still using imported oil. The opening ceremonies included a performance by the US Army Golden Knights parachute team, and the arrival of a special train carrying company officials and state dignitaries from Topeka, Kansas.

The center was originally designed for four generating units, but was scaled back when the anticipated growth in demand for electricity did not materialize.

The steam turbines and generators were imported from Germany. The unit 2 intermediate pressure turbine had to be replaced by the unit 3 turbine when the original unit was lost on a ship that sunk during the crossing of the Atlantic ocean.

As of December, 2007, Foundation Coal has shipped approximately 220,000,000 tons of Powder River Basin Coal to Jeffrey Energy Center.


Coal is delivered to Jeffrey EC by a unit train. A unit train contains about 110 cars, constructed of aluminum to conserve weight, and is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) long.

Jeffrey EC burns the coal delivered by about 11 miles (18 km) of coal train cars each week. The heating value of this coal is about 8,400 BTU/lb (19.5 MJ/kg) and at full load Jeffrey EC burns about 3,000,000 pounds (1,400 metric tons) of coal per hour.

Jeffrey EC has the capacity to generate 1,857 MW of electrical power.

Jeffrey EC is not located close to any large bodies of natural water. Its water supply comes from a series of wells drawing from the aquifer under the Kansas River.

The overall efficiency of the conversion process is about 33%, or about 1/3 of the coal's available chemical energy is converted to electric energy. The remainder of the energy (2/3) is rejected to the environment as low-grade waste heat with poor thermodynamic availability.

Steam generating (nuclear, gas, coal, geothermal, and solar furnace) energy centers, like Jeffrey, operate their steam plant on the Rankine cycle.