Wisconsin Utility Doubled Its Gas Burn in 2012

Wisconsin Energy nearly doubled its natural gas burn for power generation in 2012, from 23.9 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2011 to 46.5 bcf in 2012. Gale Klappa, CEO, said during a January 30 earnings conference call that natural gas units at the company’s 1,150-MW Port Washington generating station operated at a 46% capacity factor in 2012. This compares with a 23% capacity factor in 2011.

Wisconsin Energy also burned around 8.3 million tons of coal in 2012, down from 10.7 million tons in 2011. The company said it bought less coal, maximized coal storage, and worked with coal suppliers to amend existing contracts.

The company also is seeking a revised air permit to allow operators to blend western and eastern coals at its 1,230-MW Oak Creek expansion units. The units initially were permitted to burn eastern bituminous coal when they entered service in 2010 and 2011. The utility is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to amend the permit. Plans call for the revised permit to be issued during the first quarter and coal blend testing to begin in the second quarter.

—David Wagman, Executive Editor (@POWERmagazine, @EPContentDirect)

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