Construction begins on Bay Front coal plant retrofit

Northern States Power, a unit of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), told the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in a July 24 update that construction on the Bay Front baghouse and activated carbon injection project began on May 30.

The commission had approved the project in December 2012 and ordered that quarterly updates be filed until the project is done.

Construction commenced on May 30 with the start of pile installation. Foundation pile installation was complete on June 20. As of June 30, about 5% of the foundation concrete work was complete. The anticipated in service date is Dec. 16, 2014, and the overall percent of physical completion is less than 1%.

The Bay Front plant is located on the shore of Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior. Currently, three boilers feed steam into a combined steam header system that can support three turbine-generator sets. These boilers, known as boilers number 1, 2, and 5, currently burn fuels including coal, waste wood, railroad ties, tire-derived fuel, and natural gas to produce steam that drive the three turbine-generator sets (identified as numbers 4, 5, and 6) to produce electricity.

Of the three existing turbine-generator sets, #4 has a capacity of 22 MW and came into service in 1949, #5 has a capacity of 22 MW and came into service in 1952, and #6 has a capacity of 30 MW and was placed in service in 1957. Xcel told the commission that the current expected life of the plant is five to nine years.

Xcel is constructing the new baghouse and ACI facilities to reduce particulate matter (PM) and mercury emissions from boilers #1 and #2 at the facility. NSPW said it has no plans to install additional air control equipment on boiler number 5 because it intends to burn only natural gas in that boiler after Jan. 1, 2015, in order to comply with the Wisconsin mercury reduction rule.

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.