Wisconsin utilities near finish on Columbia coal plant air controls

Wisconsin Power and Light told the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in a Jan. 31 quarterly update that work is getting close to completion on approved new emissions controls for the coal-fired Columbia Energy Center Units 1 and 2.

Wisconsin Power and Light, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Madison Gas and Electric had gotten a Certificate of Authority from the commission for these controls. The estimated cost of the approved project cost was $627m, excluding allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC). As of the Jan. 31 update the project is forecasted to be completed under the approved cost.

The forecasted in-service date for the emission reduction equipment for both Unit 1 and Unit 2 is scheduled for spring/summer 2014. The Unit 2 outage began on Jan.18 and is expected to be completed on March 3, and the Unit 1 outage is planned to start on April 12 and finish on June 3.

Construction started in February 2012. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the overall project is approximately 94% complete (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction), which is slightly ahead of schedule. As of the end of December 2013, engineering was about 98% complete. Several engineering activities were executed to support the project schedule, most pertaining to the electrical scope of the project as well as commissioning and start-up activities.

All major deliveries have been received. Baghouse bags and cages have been delivered and installed in the Unit 2 Pulse Jet Fabric Filter. Bags and cages for Unit 1 will arrive in January and February 2014 for immediate installation. Spare parts have started to be delivered and will continue into the second quarter of 2014.

Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) completed erecting the Spray Dryer Absorbers (SDA), Pulse Jet Fabric Filters (PJFF), and ductwork and support steel from the existing units and the new equipment including the SDA inlet ducts on Unit 1. The erection of the SDAs and PJFFs for Unit 1 and Unit 2 have been completed.

New round of Columbia projects on the way

Alliant Energy’s (NYSE: LNT) Wisconsin Power and Light subsidiary and its co-owner utility partners on Jan. 8 also received final regulatory approval from the Wisconsin commission to upgrade the coal pulverizers and steam turbines at the Columbia Energy Center. The upgrades approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will help lower operating costs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the generating station.

The upgrade project includes replacing twelve pulverizers and upgrading two steam turbines installed when the plant was constructed in the 1970s. Installing this newer technology is designed to increase the plant’s operating capacity by nearly 10%, bringing more low-cost electricity to utility customers, Alliant noted.

Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2015, with an anticipated completion in 2017. The investment in new technology and equipment is expected to be around $130m and will be shared by Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility and plant co-owners Madison Gas and Electric and Wisconsin Public Service.

Columbia includes two coal-fired units with a total nameplate capacity of 1,023 MW. Unit 1 (512 MW) began operation in 1975, and Unit 2 (511 MW) in 1978.

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.