$105 million settlement includes renewable energy commitments

Posted on August 7, 2008. Filed under: Biomass, Coal, Energy Policy, Generation Plants, Global Warming, Solar, Wind |

From a story posted on the Web site of The Business Journal of Milwaukee:

The three owners of the Elm Road Generating Station in Oak Creek will pay $105 million over a 25-year period for Lake Michigan protection projects to end a three- year legal battle over the water intake structure at the power plant, Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club said Wednesday.

Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club filed suit after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a permit allowing the use of a once-through cooling system at the coal-fired power plant. The organizations claimed that once-through cooling did not represent the best available technology for cooling the plant and thus should not be permitted.

Under the settlement, the three utilities that own the generating station — We Energies of Milwaukee, Madison Gas & Electric of Madison and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. of Sun Prairie — agreed to the following:

– Funding $4 million per year from 2010 through 2035 for projects to address water quality issues in Lake Michigan such as invasive species, polluted runoff, toxic loadings, and habitat destruction;

– Purchase or construct 15 megawatts of solar generation by Jan. 1, 2015; and

– Support legislative efforts to establish a renewable energy portfolio standard of 10 percent by 2013 and 25 percent by 2025.

We Energies will also retire two coal-fired units in Presque Isle, Michigan and ask the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for approval to construct 50 megawatts of 100 percent biomass-fueled power in Wisconsin.

In a media release, Mark Redsten, Exeuctive Director, of Clean Wisconsin said:

“We’re happy to have reached an agreement that has significant benefits for both the lake and the fight against global warming. These environmental protections help ensure Lake Michigan is a healthy natural resource for generations to come.”

From a separate release from the Sierra Club:

“In the long run, this agreement will result in dramatic improvements to the overall health of Lake Michigan and will contribute to the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and biomass,” said Jennifer Feyerherm, Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign Director.

“It will help us address two of the most critical issues of our time—climate change and protection of one of the world’s greatest freshwater natural resources.”


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