Wisconsin Power & Light Company

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Wisconsin Power & Light Company (WPL) is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy.[1]

Existing Coal Plants

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Columbia Energy Center WI 1975, 1978 1,020 MW
Edgewater Generating Station WV 1951, 1969, 1985 770 MW
Nelson Dewey Generating Station WV 1959, 1962 200 MW

Proposed coal retirements

In July 2012 Wisconsin Power & Light said it will shut down three aging, coal-fired electricity generating units by the end of 2015, and had not decided yet how to replace the power.

Plans include:[2]

Close the Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville;
Close the 60-megawatt Edgewater Generating Station Unit 3 generator in Sheboygan;
Either close Edgewater Generating Station Unit 4 or convert it to burn natural gas by the end of 2018; and
Add scrubbers to Edgewater Generating Station Unit 5 to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.

EPA settlement

On April 22, 2013, WP&L settled air pollution violations with the EPA by agreeing to spend $1.2 billion to clean up coal-fired power plants and shut down older plants. The company agreed to stop burning coal at the Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville and two of the three boilers at the Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, retiring 590 megawatts of coal. The company will also add pollution controls to the Edgewater Generating Station and the Columbia Energy Center in Portage, co-owned by Madison Gas & Electric.[3]

Cancelled Coal Plants

In 2007 Alliant, through WPL, proposed a 300 MW coal-fired Nelson Dewey Generating Facility at its existing Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville near the Mississippi River. The plant would utilize circulating fluidized bed technology; 10% of fuel burned at the plant would be biomass.[4]

On June 5, 2007 – for the second time that year – the state Public Service Commission (PSC) sent back Alliant’s permit application, asking for more information on air emissions and other environmental issues. On Dec. 20, 2007, the PSC accepted Alliant’s application as complete; a decision on the application is expected by the end of 2008.[5]

In May, 2008, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassville plant. The EIS identified several serious impacts that would be caused at the Cassville location, including damage to the bed of the Mississippi River, harm to a rare species of mussels, and potential destruction of a 20-acre forest.[6]

The company has proposed an alternate site for their plant in Portage, Wisconsin.[7] According to the Sierra Club, a plant built at this location "would also have several negative environmental impacts, including posing a threat to the habitats of several endangered or threatened species."[8]

In November 2008, state regulators voted unanimously to reject the plant, citing concerns about global warming as well as the plant's $1.3 billion price tag, which had ballooned almost 60 percent from 2007 due to rising construction costs. The PSC noted that the likelihood of future regulations on carbon emissions will make it difficult for any new coal plant to be built in Wisconsin.[9]

Articles and Resources


  1. Alliant Energy, "Utilities at a Glance", Alliant Energy website, accessed September 2009.
  2. Judy Newan, "Wisconsin Power & Light unveils $1.4 billion plan to clean up energy production," Wisconsin State Journal, July 27, 2012.
  3. Thomas Content, "EPA settles with Wisconsin utilities on coal plant air pollution: $1.2 billion will be spent to clean up power plants," Journal Sentinel, April 22, 2013.
  4. Alliant Proposes 300-MW Coal Unit in Wisconsin, Reuters UK, February 7, 2007.
  5. PSC Accepts Alliant's Coal Plant Application, Capital Times, December 21, 2007.
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  7. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  9. PSC rejects Alliant Energy's proposed coal plant," Journal Sentinel, November 11, 2008.

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