Wisconsin utilities kick off construction of coal projects at Oak Creek, Elm Road

Wisconsin Electric Power d/b/a We Energies on Oct. 14 filed a quarterly report with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that said construction started Aug. 25, with completion due in the fall of 2017, on coal-related projects at the adjacent Oak Creek and Elm Road power plants.

We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric and WPPI Energy have been approved by the commission for a Certificate of Authority to upgrade various power block equipment at Elm Road to facilitate the use of sub-bituminous coals out of the Powder River Basin as a fuel source. The plant, which is relatively new, was designed around Pittsburgh-seam coal out of Northern Appalachia, but lower-Btu PRB coal in recent years has become a cheaper option. The plant co-owners want to up the percentage of PRB coals in the plant’s coal burn over time.

We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric and WPPI Energy were also approved to construct a Site Bulk Material Handling (SMBH) project at Oak Creek and Elm Road. This would allow handling and additional storage of new coal supply. The additional storage area is also seen as a hedge against any renewed rail delivery problems for coal. Oak Creek has been burning PRB coal for years now.

As of the end of September, construction on these projects is approximately 5% complete. Site clearing has been completed. Relocation of the overhead ATC transmission line has been completed. Relocation of the underground utilities and service road has commenced. The facilities are anticipated to be in-service in Fall 2017.

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.