Energy gets nod for new power plants
MILWAUKEE- Wisconsin Energy Corp.'s WEC.N
plan to build two new natural gas-fired power plants was
approved by state energy regulators, a company spokesman
said on Tuesday, in order to meet rising demand for electricity
in the state.
The plants are part of Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy's
$7 billion program to build 2,800 MW of new generating
capacity in the state at a cost of $3 billion, improve
existing plants for $1.3 billion, and upgrade the electric
distribution system for $2.7 billion.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted on Monday
to allow Wisconsin Energy to build two 545 megawatt plants
on the site of its existing 320 MW coal-fired plant in
Port Washington on Lake Michigan north of Milwaukee. One
megawatt is power for about 1,000 homes.
The regulatory commission also approved a 12.7 percent
return on equity for the plants and set a capital structure
of 53 percent equity and 47 percent debt.
A final written order from the regulatory commission
is expected by the end of the year, a WPSC spokeswoman
Chris Iglar, spokesman for Wisconsin Energy, said construction
of the first Port Washington plant is expected to begin
in the first half next year, with the unit to go into
service sometime in 2005.
The second Port Washington plant is projected to be
completed in 2008. The existing coal-fired plant will
Wisconsin Energy also plans to build three 600 MW coal-fired
plants at its Oak Creek plant site on Lake Michigan south
of Milwaukee, with production starts forecast for 2007,
2009 and 2011.
The Oak Creek plants have not been approved yet by the
Iglar said an existing 1,065 MW coal-fired plant at
Oak Creek will continue to operate with upgrades to reduce
Wisconsin Energy's We Power subsidiary will build and
own the new plants and lease them back to regulated utility
Wisconsin Electric Power, Iglar said.