The first of two 800-megawatt electricity generators at a new $4 billion southern Illinois power plant is in use.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports the Unit 1 generator was fired up Wednesday at the Prairie State Energy Campus near Lively Grove in Washington County.
The second unit is to be in use by the end of the year, with the entire power plant to be completed by next year.
St. Louis-based Peabody Energy and various Midwest municipal power companies and rural electric cooperatives own the plant.
Spokeswoman Ashlie Kuehn says the owners will begin scheduling and selling power on the energy markets.
Electricity will be distributed through the Illinois power grid and transmitted to Midwest communities and other energy suppliers.