We Energies wants to test gas/coal co-firing at Pleasant Prairie plant

Wisconsin Electric Power D/B/A We Energies is seeking approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for an exemption from Air Pollution Control permit requirements so it can test the co-firing of natural gas with the normal fuel, coal, at Pleasant Prairie Units 1 and 2.

The DNR is taking comment until April 30 on this March 28 exemption request.

Said a DNR notice: “We Energies-Pleasant Prairie Power Plant is proposing to research and test using natural gas, co-fired with coal, as a fuel in Units #1 & #2. The current permit allows for the use of natural gas but it is normally just used for startups, shutdowns and load stabilization. The testing will be done to determine the future long-term feasibility of co-firing natural gas. The existing natural gas burners will be used for the testing.

“The Bureau of Air Management of the DNR has analyzed these materials and has determined that the project should meet applicable criteria for exemption as stated in sec. NR 406.04(1)(i), Wis. Adm. Code. The DNR finds that the proposed test will not present a significant hazard to public health, safety or welfare, or to the environment. This preliminary determination does not constitute approval from the Air Management Program or any other DNR sections which may also require a review of the project.”

The application said the initial testing of co-firing is due in the second quarter of this year, with initial testing for up to 30 operating days for each boiler. The testing could go for up to a year.

This plant occupies more than 425 acres of land in the village of Pleasant Prairie, five miles west of Lake Michigan. Each of its two units has net generating capacity of 595 MW, for a total of 1,190 MW.

Low-sulfur pulverized coal from the Wyoming Powder River Basin is the plant’s normal fuel. Average coal use is 13,000-13,600 tons daily. Selective Catalytic Reduction controls were added to both generating units (Unit 2 in 2003 and Unit 1 in 2006) to reduce emissions of NOx. Wet Flue Gas Desulfurization controls were added to both generating units (Unit 1 in 2006 and Unit 2 in 2007) to reduce SO2 emissions.

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.