New scrubber, baghouse systems dedicated at Columbia plant

The utility co-owners of the coal-fired Columbia plant in Wisconsin on July 14 dedicated a new, $600m air emissions control system at the plant.

Alliant Energy (NYSE: LNT) and its co-owner partners, Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service, have installed over the last three years technology that will reduce SO2 and mercury at the plant by approximately 90%. A July 14 ribbon-cutting event was held to mark the end of construction and official start-up for baghouse and scrubber systems that were added to both Columbia Units 1 and 2.

“This is one of the largest environmental projects ever built at a Wisconsin power plant, and we are pleased that it came in on schedule and better than budget,” said John Larsen, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility, Wisconsin Power and Light. “The strong partnerships we had with labor, the plant co-owners, our contractors and the communities surrounding the plant were impressive and made this a quality project.”

“Alliant Energy’s investments in air quality improvement systems will exceed $1.4 billion through 2017. We are adding more natural gas generation, and renewables remain an important part of our generation strategy,” said Patricia Kampling, Chairman, President and CEO of Alliant Energy. “We are also making great progress in our stewardship of the environment, and our company is well on its way to transforming our generating fleet to one that has fewer, cleaner and more efficient units.”

Earlier in July, Alliant Energy and its Columbia co-owner partners made a request to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to install a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system on Columbia Unit 2. This additional control would reduce NOx by approximately 50%.

The Columbia Energy Center is located near Portage, Wisc. Unit 1 began operation in 1975 and has a nameplate capacity of 512 MW. Unit 2 began operation in 1978 and has a nameplate capacity of 511 MW. Both units are jointly owned by Wisconsin Power and Light (46.2%), Wisconsin Public Service (31.8%), and Madison Gas and Electric (22%). They are operated by WPL.

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.