WPL to study replacement of coal power capacity with natural gas generation

Wisconsin Power and Light is conducting a feasibility study on possibly replacing 270 MW of coal-fired power with new natural gas-fired generation. (Pictured: Wisconsin Power and Light Nelson Dewey Coal-fired Power Plant In Cassville, WI.)

Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (WPL), a Madison-based utility and division of Alliant Energy (NYSE:LNT), is conducting a feasibility study to consider the replacement of 270 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power capacity with natural gas-fired generation.

As part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the utility is planning to shut down its 200 MW Nelson Dewey and 70 MW Edgewater Unit 3 coal-fired power plants by 2015. In 2009, the federal agency filed suit against WPL alleging the utility was in violation of the Clean Air Act because of past modifications to three of its coal fueled plants.

The study will help WPL determine how best to continue meeting electricity demands in complying with the terms of the EPA settlement and the goals set forth in its own energy resources strategy announced in July 2012.

WPL is looking to add some 300 MW of generation after the shut downs and will examine the possibility of constructing a natural gas-fired power plant in Sheboygan Falls or Neenah, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The utility is expected to complete the feasibility study and file a proposed project application with the state Public Service Commission by the end of 2014.

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