Wisconsin commission rejects proposed coal power plant

WISCONSIN - In a unanimous decision, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin denied Wisconsin Power and Light's plan to build a new 300 MW coal-fired electric generation facility at a cost of $4,200 per kW.

The PSC decided that the $1.26 billion project was too costly when weighing it against other alternatives such as natural gas generation and the possibility of buying power from existing sources. Concerns over construction costs and uncertainty over the costs of complying with future possible carbon dioxide regulations were all contributing factors to the denial.

The PSC said Wisconsin Power and Light's effort to burn up to 20 percent renewable biomass at the Nelson Dewey site was laudable, but it found the cumulative costs and risk associated with the project were unacceptable to the utility's ratepayers.

Commissioners said the proposed plant is not in the public interest, adding that there are alternatives that could prove more financially and environmentally sound.

Wisconsin Power and Light filed an application with the PSC for permission to build the 300 MW coal-fired electric generation facility in early 2007. The utility identified two possible locations for the power plant – their Nelson Dewey Generating Station property in Cassville and the Columbia Energy Center.


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