Milwaukee, August 17, 2012 — We Energies announced plans to convert the fuel source for the Valley Power Plant from coal to natural gas.
The Valley plant is a cogeneration facility located along the Menomonee River in Milwaukee that generates electricity for the grid and produces steam for heating hundreds of downtown Milwaukee buildings.
The company plans to file an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for approval to modify the plant so that it will be capable of burning natural gas. The electric capacity of the plant is expected to remain at 280 MW. If approval is received from the PSCW, We Energies expects the conversion to be completed in 2015 or 2016.
The cost of the conversion project is expected to total between $60 and $65 million. About 50 positions at the plant are likely to be eliminated in connection with the conversion to natural gas. However, the impact on current employees will be minimized through reassignment to other We Energies sites and through retirement and normal attrition.
Over the past decade, emissions from the Valley plant have decreased, including a 65 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions. In October 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency commented on the air quality improvements noting that the monitor closest to the Valley plant — the 16th Street Health Center monitor — has the lowest monitored ozone levels in southeast Wisconsin.