Alliant retrofits, targets for shutdown some of its coal-fired capacity

The Interstate Power and Light (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL) units of Alliant Energy (NYSE: LNT) have a number of emissions projects in construction at coal-fired plants like Edgewater and Columbia in Wisconsin and the George Neal plant in Iowa.

In its Nov. 9 Form 10-Q filing, Alliant outlined these ongoing emissions retrofits:

  • WPL’s Edgewater Unit 5 Emission Controls Project – WPL is installing a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system at Edgewater Unit 5 to reduce NOx emissions. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The SCR will help meet requirements under the Wisconsin Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) Rule, which require additional NOx emission reductions at Edgewater by May 2013.
  • WPL’s Columbia Units 1 and 2 Emission Controls Project – WPL is installing scrubbers and baghouses at Columbia Units 1 and 2 to reduce SO2 and mercury emissions. WPL owns a 46.2% interest in Columbia Units 1 and 2. Construction began in the first quarter of 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2014. These controls are expected to help meet requirements under the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) or some alternative to this rule that may be implemented, the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Rule and the Wisconsin State Mercury Rule.
  • IPL’s George Neal Units 3 and 4 Emission Controls Project – Plant co-owner MidAmerican Energy is currently installing scrubbers and baghouses at George Neal Units 3 and 4 to reduce SO2 and mercury. IPL owns a 28% and 25.695% interest in George Neal Units 3 and 4, respectively. Construction began in the fourth quarter of 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2013 and 2014. The scrubbers and baghouses will meet requirements under CAIR or some alternative to this rule that may be implemented and the Utility MACT Rule.
  • IPL’s Ottumwa Unit 1 Emission Controls Project – IPL is installing a scrubber and baghouse at Ottumwa Unit 1 to reduce SO2 and mercury. IPL owns a 48% interest in Ottumwa Unit 1. Construction began in the second quarter of 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2014. These controls are expected to help meet requirements under CAIR or some alternative to this rule that may be implemented and the Utility MACT Rule.

Alliant’s plan also includes coal shutdowns and coal-to-gas switching

IPL’s and WPL’s strategic plans focus on their core business of delivering regulated electric and natural gas service in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The strategic plans for Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL include: purchasing and/or constructing new natural gas-fired facilities; implementing emission controls and performance upgrades at newer, larger and most efficient coal facilities; fuel switching at, and retirement of, certain older, smaller and less efficient facilities; entering into a new nuclear generation power purchase agreement (PPA) related to the Duane Arnold nuclear plant; constructing a new wind generating facility; and evaluating potential future development of existing utility wind sites. Key strategic plan developments impacting Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL during 2012 include:

  • April 2012 – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) approved WPL’s application to acquire the Riverside gas-fired plant for approximately $393m. In June, FERC approved WPL’s application to acquire Riverside. WPL currently plans to complete the acquisition in December.
  • April 2012 – IPL and MidAmerican Energy each filed an updated Emissions Plan and Budget (EPB) with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). IPL’s EPB includes emission controls projects for Ottumwa Unit 1 and Lansing Unit 4. MidAmerican’s EPB includes emission controls projects for George Neal Units 3 and 4. Alliant Energy and IPL currently expect the IUB to issue their decisions on IPL’s and MidAmerican’s EPBs by the first quarter of 2013.
  • July 2012 – WPL announced plans to retire Edgewater Unit 3 and Nelson Dewey Units 1 and 2 by Dec. 31, 2015, and fuel switch or retire Edgewater Unit 4 by Dec. 31, 2018, subject to necessary approvals.
  • July 2012 – WPL filed an application with the PSCW to install a scrubber and baghouse system at Edgewater Unit 5. WPL expects a decision from the PSCW regarding this project by the second quarter of 2013. Subject to regulatory approval of the project and the timing of such approvals, WPL expects to begin construction in 2014 and place it in service in 2016.
  • August 2012 – IPL announced it expects to file in the fourth quarter of 2012 for regulatory approvals to construct an approximate 600-MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle electric generating facility in Marshalltown, Iowa. The advanced rate-making principles filing is expected to include a fixed cost cap of $700m, excluding AFUDC and transmission upgrade costs, and a return on common equity of 11.25%. The filing is also expected to include a request that any costs incurred in excess of the cost cap be incorporated into rates if determined to be reasonable and prudent. IPL expects to receive decisions on the required regulatory approvals for the new facility by 2014. Subject to regulatory approvals of the new facility and the timing of such approvals, IPL expects to begin construction of the facility in 2014 and place it in service by the second quarter of 2017.
  • August 2012 – IPL filed for regulatory approvals to enter into a new PPA that was recently negotiated with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) for the purchase of capacity and energy generated by Duane Arnold, located near Palo, Iowa. These filings with the IUB will seek authority to recover the Iowa retail portion of the cost of the new PPA from Iowa retail electric customers through the energy adjustment clause. IPL expects to receive the IUB’s decision on the new PPA by early 2013.
  • November 2012 – IPL announced plans to retire Lansing Unit 3 and Dubuque Units 3 and 4 by Dec. 31, 2014, and Fox Lake Units 1 and 3, Sutherland Units 1 and 3 and various other units by Dec. 31, 2016. The retirement of IPL’s Fox Lake Units 1 and 3 and Sutherland Units 1 and 3 is contingent on the approval and construction of the proposed Marshalltown Generating Station, among other necessary approvals.

Alliant Energy’s, IPL’s and WPL’s current strategic plans include the retirement of, and fuel switching at, several old, small and less efficient facilities. The following table provides a list of recently-retired units as well as others that may be retired or changed from coal-fired to an alternative fuel source in the next five years.

IPL

  • Sixth Street, 85 MW, retired in 2010.
  • Dubuque Unit 2, 15 MW, retired in 2010.
  • M.L. Kapp Unit 1, 19 MW, retired in 2010.
  • Prairie Creek Unit 2, 23 MW, retired in 2010.
  • Sutherland Unit 2, 38 MW, retired in 2010.
  • Lansing Unit 2, 12 MW, retired in 2010.
  • Lansing Unit 3, 38 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Dubuque Unit 3, 29 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Dubuque Unit 4, 38 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Fox Lake Unit 1, 12 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Fox Lake Unit 3, 82 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Sutherland Unit 1, 38 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Sutherland Unit 3, 82 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Other, unnamed units, about 230 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2016.

WPL

  • Edgewater Unit 3, 60 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Nelson Dewey Unit 1, 100 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Nelson Dewey Unit 2, 100 MW, retire by Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Edgewater Unit 4, 225 MW (WPL’s 68.2% ownership share), fuel switch or retire by Dec. 31, 2018.

Final Midwest ISO studies could indicate that the retirement of Dubuque Units 3 and 4, Fox Lake Unit 3, Edgewater Unit 3 and Nelson Dewey Units 1 and 2 may result in reliability issues and that transmission upgrades are necessary to enable the retirement, the company noted. Under the current MISO tariff, the specific timing for the retirement of these units could depend on the timing of the required transmission upgrades as well as various operational, market and other factors.

Dubuque Units 3 and 4 ceased coal firing in 2011 and are currently fueled with natural gas. The retirement of IPL’s Fox Lake Units 1 and 3, Sutherland Units 1 and 3 and other units is contingent on the approval and construction of the proposed Marshalltown Generating Station. Sutherland Units 1 and 3 ceased coal firing in 2012 and are currently fueled with natural gas.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.