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Generation reshaping plan includes solar project, coal plant closures

We are committed to balancing reliability and affordability with good environmental stewardship.

As part of that effort, we continue to work with industry partners, environmental groups and state leaders to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The focus is to continue a balanced electric generation mix while taking the following actions:

  • Retiring older, less efficient coal-fueled units
  • Building advanced technology natural gas units
  • Investing in cost-effective, zero-carbon, renewable generation

These changes are driven mainly by sustained low natural gas prices; a large reduction in renewable generation cost, particularly solar; and limited to flat growth in electricity demand. Electric market prices are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future, and the planned plant retirements and new investments will better balance supply with demand.

Retiring coal-fueled units

We began reducing CO2 emissions from coal-fueled generation through the conversion of the We Energies Port Washington Power Plant (now Port Washington Generating Station) and Valley Power Plant to natural gas in 2005-08 and 2014-15, respectively.

Combined, We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) retired more than 1,400 additional megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled generation in 2018:

  • WPS 200-MW Pulliam Power Plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • We Energies 100-MW share of Edgewater 4 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • We Energies 1,190-MW Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

In mid-2019, We Energies plans to retire its 350-MW Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan.

Building natural gas units

Our subsidiary in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Upper Michigan Energy Resources, is building 180 MW of reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) generation, expected to be in service by mid-2019. WPS is evaluating the addition of 50 MW of the modular, reliable and flexible RICE generation in Marinette in the future.

Investing in renewable energy generation

Today, about 26 percent of the electricity used by our customers comes from carbon-free sources.

We see the potential to add more than 350 MW of renewable energy generation by 2020. Large-scale solar technology has greatly improved in cost and efficiency and would fit our customers’ electricity needs.

Active and proposed renewable energy programs/projects:

  • We Energies 35-MW Solar Now pilot
  • We Energies 150-MW Dedicated Renewable Energy Resource pilot
  • WPS 100-MW Badger Hollow Solar Farm, pending approval by Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW)
  • WPS 100-MW Two Creeks Solar Project, pending approval by PSCW
  • We Energies 145-MW Blue Sky Green Field and Glacier Hills Wind Park
  • WPS 156-MW Crane Creek Wind Farm and Forward Wind Park
  • We Energies 89 MW of hydroelectric power, generated at 13 dams
  • WPS 82 MW of hydroelectric power, generated at 17 dams

Reshaping our generating fleet through retirement of coal-fueled units, addition of natural gas units and investment in renewable energy will preserve fuel diversity while reducing both costs to customers and carbon emissions.