November 29, 2017 Read More →

Pleasant Prairie Plant in Wisconsin Will Close in 2018

Milwaukee Journal:

On Tuesday, Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group announced it was closing the plant permanently in the second quarter of 2018 as the company moves to cheaper natural gas and other energy sources.

The decision is the latest sign of coal’s diminishing status as a source of electric generation as utilities turn to natural gas, surplus wholesale power and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Pleasant Prairie is a major source of power in the state. The plant uses an average of 13,000 tons of coal a day, shipped in train cars from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. In full operation, it can supply the electric needs of about 1 million homes.

The shift to other fuel options should lead to lower prices for consumers in the future, the company said.

Pleasant Prairie has been operating at reduced capacity at times in recent years, underscoring its excess plant capacity and the cheaper energy options available to the company. Pleasant Prairie did not operate for three months this spring, the company said.

The plant’s closing also means less air pollution and a smaller carbon footprint for state’s largest utility holding company and should help southeastern Wisconsin address longstanding ozone air emission problems.

“We are looking for a clean, reliable energy future for our customers,” said Cathy Schulze, a spokeswoman for the company.

The power plant employs 158 people and the company said it will try to keep many of the employees by redeploying them to other facilities.

More: We Energies’ coal-fired power plant in Pleasant Prairie to be shut down in 2018

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