Michigan PSC okays Wolverine investment in Presque Isle plant

Wisconsin Electric Power filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on April 26 an order issued the prior day by the Michigan Public Service Commission approving a deal involving the Presque Isle coal plant in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan PSC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have now both approved the deal, under which Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative will buy 33% of the Presque Isle plant, and will pay for that stake in the plant by footing the bill for needed new air emissions controls for the venerable facility.

The April 26 filing was made in the docket for the ongoing Wisconsin commission review of this plan. The April 25 Michigan PSC approval was along the lines of a recent settlement agreement between WEPCo, Wolverine and PSC staff.

Presque Isle Units 5 and 6 are capable of firing both bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, while Units 7-9 are capable of using sub-bituminous coal. The application for new air controls for the plant was prepared such that all current fuel options have been accounted for and remain unchanged.

That is one of the points from a March 8 air permit-to-install application filed by Wisconsin Electric Power d/b/a We Energies at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The proposed air quality control system (AQCS) equipment for NOX consists of individual boosted over fire air systems on each of the five units and new Low NOX burners on Units 5 and 6. SO2 and HAP acid gas control will be accomplished via installation of three spray dryer absorbers (SDAs) on Units 5-7, and Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) systems on Units 8 and 9. Powder activated carbon (PAC) injection for mercury (Hg) control is currently installed and used on Units 7-9 and will be added to Units 5 and 6. The existing fabric filters and booster fans currently associated with retired Units 1-4 will be reused for particulate and non-volatile metal removal following the Units 5 and 6 SDAs.

The balance of new plant equipment required for the project includes one lime storage and slurry preparation facility, one DSI storage silo, one PAC storage silo, a new ash collection system for the existing Units 7 through 9 fabric filter, which will control Units 8 and 9, and new redundant auxiliary transformers to feed the AQCS equipment. The existing continuous emissions monitors (CEMS) will be reconfigured and a mercury CEMS will also be added.

Presque Isle Units 1 and 2 were retired in January 2007, and Units 3 and 4 were retired in October 2009. What’s left in operation are: Units 5 and 6, which each have 80 MW of capacity on bituminous coal and 55 MW on sub-bituminous coal; and Units 7-9, each with a range of 78 MW to 85 MW in capacity.

Under a proposed operating and maintenance agreement, Wisconsin Electric will act as agent for itself and Wolverine, as co-owners of Presque Isle, and will be responsible for operating and maintaining the facility. Wisconsin Electric and Wolverine will share operation and maintenance costs, including fuel costs, and future capital costs (if any) in proportion to their future ownership interests.

Wolverine is a generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Cadillac, Mich. It supplies power to five distribution electric cooperatives and two Alternative Electric Suppliers in the Lower Peninsula.

We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power and Wisconsin Gas LLC, the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy (NYSE: WEC).

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.