Wisconsin Public Service is retiring a coal fired power plant near Wausau, and switching a second one over to natural gas.
Weston Unit 1 was built in 1954. WPS spokesperson Kerry Spees says the older plant is much less efficient in generating power, and also needs expensive emissions upgrades.
“We would definitely have to do upgrades. We’re in a time it seems when those environmental standards continue to get tighter and tighter. And at a certain point you just have to cut the cord and say there’s no real sense in trying to keep this plant operating.”
WPS is already working on upgrades to make another of its Weston coal plants burn more cleanly.
And it’s switching the smaller Weston Unit 2 over to burn natural gas, since it was built to run off either fuel. Spees says gas prices are significantly lower than they once were.
“Now gas plants are economical, and are running 24/7. IN addition it’s a cleaner fuel, you don’t have to add a lot of expensive environmental upgrades.”
The changes will take effect by next summer.
Spees says if WPS decides to build a new power plant in the next few years, it will choose one that can rely on natural gas.