Wisconsin Energy’s Elm Road coal unit returns to service

A Wisconsin Energy (NYSE: WEC) spokesperson confirmed June 5 that one of the new 615-MW coal units at the Oak Creek power station recently returned to service following an unplanned outage that started last September.

Unit 1 at the Elm Road plant returned to service a few days ago meaning that both Units 1 and 2 will be available for the summer peak energy season, the spokesperson said. The two new units, by the way, are called Elm Road. Older coal units at the site are called Oak Creek, or in some databases they are called South Oak Creek.

Elm Road Unit 1 was taken offline last fall after an inspection revealed problems connected to chloride deposits on steam turbine blades. The trouble was identified shortly before Bechtel’s two-year warranty on the new coal plant was about to expire, the spokesperson said. Bechtel was the primary contractor developing the new coal units.

Bechtel and Wisconsin Energy are at odds about which company bears responsibility for the problem at Unit 1. The dispute won’t necessarily end up in court because the parties do have a dispute resolution process included as part of Bechtel’s vendor contract, the utility representative said.

The two Elm Road units are supercritical baseload coal facilities. Unit 1 entered service in 2010 and Unit 2 in 2011, according to the Wisconsin Energy website. They are located on a 1,000-acre property on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 20 miles from Milwaukee.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.