1,100 MW coal plant shutters in Wisconsin

February 10, 2021
TMI Staff & Contributors

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The Columbia Energy Center, a two-unit 1,100-MW coal power plant in Columbia County, Wisconsin will be permanently retired by the end of 2024, according to Alliant Energy, which co-owns the facility with Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group) and Madison Gas and Electric Co. Plans include Unit 1 shuttering by the end of 2023, with Unit 2 following suit a year later.

In May, Alliant Energy’s West Riverside Energy Center, a 730-MW combined cycle power plant near the city of Beloit, Wisconsin, started commercial operations. A week later, the company announced it would retire its coal-fired Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, by the end of 2021.

The series of plant replacements follows a familiar strategy – a transition to renewables. Alliant Energy has been shuttering coal while steadily adding renewable energy and gas-fired generation. Alliant Energy has set goals of cutting CO2 emissions in half by 2030 and eliminating all coal from its generation fleet by 2040.

In shuttering the 45-year-old coal plant, the company hopes to save some $250 million in maintenance and upgrade costs while also speeding the company’s transition to clean energy. Alliant Energy has set goals of cutting CO2 emissions in half by 2030 and eliminating all coal from its generation fleet by 2040.

The West Riverside Energy Center uses a GE 7A.05 gas turbine. The plant complements the company’s growing number of solar and wind facilities. Because it leverages combined-cycle technology, its power output adjusts to complement intermittent renewable generation.

The next step for the West River Energy Center includes constructing a new, integrated solar facility adjacent to the natural gas generating station. A nearby 6 MW soon-to-be-commissioned solar field will offset auxiliary power at the natural gas plant.