US-based utility, We Energies, is planning to invest up to $65m to convert its coal fired Valley Power Plant into a natural gas-based station.
We Energies will seek approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to initiate the fuel source conversion process for the plant, which is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The company has said the 280MW power plant will retain its capacity even after it begins burning natural gas, continue to supply power for the grid and produce steam for heating several downtown Milwaukee buildings.
Gale Klappa, We Energies chairman, president and CEO, said that the conversion plan will enable the power station to meet the energy needs of downtown Milwaukee.
"Our analysis shows that converting the fuel source for the plant will reduce our operating costs and enhance the environmental performance of the Valley units," Klappa said.
"For decades, the Valley plant has served a critical role – producing electricity, providing voltage support for the downtown Milwaukee business center, and delivering a reliable steam supply for some 450 customers, ranging from Northwestern Mutual to the Marquette University campus".
We Energies plans to complete the conversion work for the plant in 2015 or 2016.
The company is also upgrading an existing natural gas main to meet natural gas demand in Menomonee Valley and fuel the plant in future.
A Certificate of Authority from the PSCW has been obtained recently for the proposed gas main replacement work and the project is likely to be completed by 2014.
With a significant drop of 65% in sulfur dioxide emissions, the Valley Power Plant has experienced an overall reduction in the emissions over the past decade, We Energies said.
Image: The proposed fuel source conversion for Valley Power Plant will help reduce operation costs. Photo: courtesy of Sulfur.