Wisconsin Public Service to retire two Pulliam coal units by July 2015

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS), a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG), said March 12 that it has filed with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to retire two of the four currently operating coal units at the J.P. Pulliam plant in Green Bay, Wisc.

If approved by MISO, which has to look at the grid reliability impacts of these shutdowns, Pulliam Units 5 and 6 will be retired by July 2015. The units were built in 1949 and 1951, respectively, and generate a combined 112 MW. Pulliam units 7 and 8, built in 1958 and 1964, respectively, will continue to operate, generating about 200 MW. Also operating at the plant, when needed, is an 82-MW natural gas-fired peaking turbine.

WPS had some time ago announced an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that called for Pulliam Units 5 and 6 to be repowered, refueled, or retired. Current electric market conditions include generation from more efficient and larger coal and natural gas units, reducing the opportunities for Pulliam 5 and 6 to operate, the utility noted.

“Pulliam 5 & 6 served our customers well for more than 60 years,” said Paul Spicer, WPS Vice President–Electric Supply. “In the current regional energy market, however, only the most efficient plants operate 24 hours every day as these units were designed. Converting the units or adding expensive environmental controls to keep them running just isn’t in our customers’ best interests.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that coal for Pulliam last year came from Peabody Energy‘s North Antelope Rochelle, Cloud Peak Energy‘s Antelope and Arch Coal‘s Black Thunder strip mines, all of them located in the Wyoming end of the Powder River Basin.

Decisions on the disposition of the utility’s coal-fired Weston Units 1 and 2, located near Wausau, Wisc., will be made later this year. Weston 1, built in 1954, generates 60 MW, while Unit 2, built in 1960, generates 75 MW.

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.