Wisconsin Power and Light does deal aiding 650-MW Riverside project

Wisconsin Power and Light officials reported to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in Dec. 21 testimony that they have worked out a settlement that should clear the way for commission approval of the 650-MW Riverside Energy Center Expansion (RECE) project.

Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL) applied earlier this year with the commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to build an approximately 650-MW, gas-fired plant at its existing Riverside Energy Center in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Electric Power intervened in the case, saying it could supply power off its system to WPL more cheaply than through the RECE project.

WPL’s Terry Kouba wrote in Dec. 21 testimony filed in this case: “On December 16, 2015, WPL, Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC) entered into a settlement agreement with respect to this proceeding (Settlement Agreement). The purpose of my supplemental direct testimony is to describe certain provisions in the Settlement Agreement that are relevant to the Riverside Energy Center Expansion (RECE) project.

“There are two provisions in the Settlement Agreement that could have a bearing on WPL’s CPCN application to construct the RECE project: (1) modification of the RECE capacity market participation date to the 2020-2021 Module E-1 planning year; and (2) WPL’s submission of an optional study (or equivalent) for a 345 kV interconnection for RECE to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).”

Koub said about modifying the capacity market participation date for RECE: “The relevant provision in the Settlement Agreement states: WPL will not offer RECE as a capacity asset into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Module E-1 process before the earlier of June 1, 2020 or any other date set by MISO for qualifying generation as a capacity asset for the 2020-2021 Module E-1 planning year.

“The modification to the capacity market participation date impacts the date on which WPL can offer capacity from RECE into the MISO capacity market. Given this new capacity market participation date, WPL’s preliminary plan is to now target a January 2020 commercial operation date, rather than the February 2019 ate in the CPCN application. Notwithstanding this slight delay in the planned commercial operation date, WPL still intends to continue the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction negotiation and implementation process as planned and evaluate feedback from the contractors to optimize the schedule and consider adjustments to the project milestones as appropriate. This will allow WPL to take full advantage of the current ‘buyer’s market’ discussed in my [prior] testimony. As such, WPL is not proposing to change its project cost estimate of $700 million (not including AFUDC and transmission).”

WPL’s Brent Kitchen said in Dec. 21 testimony that WPL conducted additional EGEAS computer model analyses to examine the impact of the change in the market participation date. “In order to capture the potential impact of the market participation date provision in the Settlement Agreement, the revised analyses reflects a 2020 in-service date,” he wrote. “Please note, however, that the specific date that RECE will be available for energy production will remain flexible in order to satisfy the terms of the Settlement Agreement, manage to an American Transmission Company LLC (ATC) and MISO interconnection schedule when it becomes known, manage the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contract costs, and satisfy other filing requirements and deadlines. The results of the revised EGEAS analyses show that the RECE project is still selected in 16 of 17 of the runs conducted. As such, the new capacity market participation date in no way lessens the need for the RECE project.

“In its CPCN application, WPL contemplated a 138 kV interconnection point for the RECE project,” Kitchen added. “Nonetheless, WPL’s total capital cost estimate for a 2×1 NGCC resource in its Phase 1, 2, and 3 EGEAS analyses (as described in its CPCN application) included sufficient transmission costs to cover the cost of either a 138 kV or a 345 kV point of interconnection alternative. WPL’s commitment to request that MISO conduct an optional 345 kV interconnection study, therefore, has no bearing on the need for the RECE project. Regardless of the ultimate point of interconnection, the RECE project is needed according to WPL’s EGEAS analyses.”

WPL proposes with this project to build and operate two combustion turbines (CT) sending hot gases into two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) with the resulting steam sent through one steam turbine generator to produce electricity. The natural gas would be delivered by an existing WPL lateral line from an interstate natural gas pipeline. After generating electricity, the steam would be cooled and condensed over several cycles of repetition by a circulating water system, which in turn would be cooled with a new cooling tower.

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.