October 1, 2018 Read More →

Alliant closes Edgewater 4 coal plant


With construction on a $700 million natural gas plant halfway done, Alliant Energy has shut down one of its largest coal-fired generators. Friday marked the final day for Edgewater 4, a 49-year-old plant in Sheboygan that last year burned almost 950,000 tons of Wyoming coal, generating enough electricity to power about 200,000 average Wisconsin homes. It’s the third coal plant that Alliant has shut down since 2015.

The replacement, a 725-megawatt addition to Alliant’s Rock River campus in the town of Beloit, is on track to begin operation in 2020. West Riverside Energy Center will be the second-largest natural gas generating plant in Wisconsin, with nearly a third more capacity than an existing gas plant at the site.

Alliant says West Riverside will generate about half the carbon dioxide as a similar-sized coal plant, while emitting 99 percent less sulfur and virtually no mercury, pollutants that require expensive equipment to remove. That will help the Madison-based utility, which serves about 960,000 electric customers in Wisconsin and Iowa, meet its goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

And despite efforts by the Trump administration to boost coal, Alliant spokesman Scott Reigstad said the company plans to continue working to reduce carbon emissions. Reigstad said cost and pressure from investors are the main drivers. “We have a long-term strategy,” Reigstad said. “We’ve developed that independent of any federal … rules. We’re just going to keep moving.”

More: Alliant swapping coal for gas to cut costs, carbon; environmental advocates push for faster transition to renewable energy

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