Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is seeking from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) an exemption from Air Pollution Control permit requirements so it can test gas co-firing at its Weston Plant.
The utility is proposing to research and test the use natural gas, co-fired with coal, as a fuel in Units #3 and #4, said the DNR in a public notice. It is taking 10 days of comment, until April 30, on the exemption application.
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 level that natural gas can be used under normal operating conditions. The existing natural gas burners will be used for the testing. The test program is due for a May start and may continue for the rest of this year.
The Bureau of Air Management of the DNR has analyzed these materials and has determined that the project should meet applicable criteria for exemption. The DNR finds that the proposed test will not present a significant hazard to public health, safety or welfare, or to the environment.
The Weston plant site is near Wausau in central Wisconsin and is home to three fossil-fueled generating units. Weston 4, the newest unit, is a state-of-the-art, 595-MW generator that uses clean coal technologies — making it one of the cleanest power plants of its kind in the country. Weston 4 began operating in 2008. Weston Unit 3 (350.5 MW) began operating in 1981, Unit 2 (65.4 MW) in 1960 and Unit 1 in 1954. Unit 1 was retired in 2015. Unit 2 was converted from coal to natural gas in 2015.