Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) said Nov. 21 that its Bay Front power plant in Wisconsin returned to service following completion of an $18.7m upgrade to its air quality equipment and boiler control systems.
The roughly 65-MW power facility had been offline since September as more than 100 additional workers were on site to complete installation of new particulate controls, activated carbon injection equipment and boiler control systems. With these upgrades, Bay Front is now among the cleanest biomass power plants in the nation, the company said.
“This was a significant project and investment in this plant that allows us to continue to meet Wisconsin’s renewable energy goals while providing cleaner energy to our customers,” said Mark Stoering, president and CEO of Xcel utility subsidiary Northern States Power-Wisconsin.
On average, Bay Front uses about 250,000 tons of waste wood each year purchased from local loggers and other suppliers located within approximately 75 miles of the plant. Through its current purchases of waste wood and related services, Bay Front has a more than $30m annual economic impact on a six-county region in northern Wisconsin.
In 1979, Bay Front became the first investor-owned utility power plant in the nation to burn waste wood to generate electricity. Since then it has used more than 5.8 million tons of waste wood, including sustainably harvested biomass and used railroad ties.
Bay Front, located in Ashland, Wis., includes one sub-bituminous coal units and two units fueled by wood solids. The Bay Front plant had a capacity factor of roughly 33% in 2012, according to GenerationHub records.
The Bay Front plant is located on the shore of Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior.