Wisconsin city approved by state PSC to replace run-down cooling tower

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission on May 18 approved a March 16 application from Cumberland Municipal Utilities (CMU) to replace, at a cost of about $500,000, a deteriorated cooling tower at its existing electric generating facility in the city of Cumberland, Barron County, Wisconsin.

The cooling tower is used to cool the heat exchanger loop water for numerous diesel generators. CMU is an electric public utility engaged in the generation and distribution of electricity in the state of Wisconsin.

The CMU electric generating facility is located adjacent to CMU’s office in Cumberland, Wisconsin, along the west side of U.S. Highway 63. The generating facility consists of eight internal combustion generating units. These units began operation at various times between 1939 and 2002, and have a total nameplate capacity of approximately 20 MW. CMU owns all of the units, which are classified as “Emergency Use Only” by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Three of the larger units utilize natural gas while the smaller units use fuel oil. The proposed project will ensure cooing water is available to these multiple generating units.

The existing deteriorated wood cooling tower was originally installed in 1962. The cooling tower lumber structure has decayed and is compromised. The proposed replacement cooling tower will be manufactured by Marley and will be constructed of galvanized or stainless steel. The construction area will cover a space approximately 15 feet by 70 feet within the property boundary.

A new concrete support structure will be constructed to accommodate the new cooling tower and sump basin, and the piping to the tower from the plant will be buried. New variable frequency drives will be installed to efficiently operate the cooling tower fan motors. Updates to the process control system will monitor and control water temperature from the tower.

The rated capacity of this cooling tower is 4,600 gallons per minute (GPM) with 105 degrees F inlet temperature and 85 degrees F outlet temperature. The new tower is sized for an additional 1,400 GPM to accommodate future generating capacity at the facility.

Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2015, with an anticipated in-service date of November 2015.

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.