Wisconsin Power and Light Company finalizes settlement with EPA and Sierra Club Settlement is consistent with utility's long-term strategic plan
MADISON, Wis., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE: LNT), has reached a settlement agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club to continue to build on its long history of environmental stewardship, which includes a decrease in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 50% over the last ten years and a reduction of mercury emissions by about 30% over the last three years.
"The settlement is a win-win for WPL and the communities we serve," explains John Larsen, President – WPL. "The terms of the settlement are in line with WPL's energy resources strategy announced in July 2012, which called for investing more than $1 billion from 2012 through 2016 to transition WPL's generation fleet to meet customers' energy needs in a cost effective manner now and into the future, while continuing to limit emissions and advance renewable energy. This agreement enables WPL to remain focused on its operations and continue providing our customers with safe and reliable power."
Continued investments in cleaner air for Wisconsin:
Aside from this settlement, WPL has already completed several pollution control projects and is also in the process of completing major emission control investments as part of its energy resources strategy. In December 2012, WPL completed construction of an emission control project at Edgewater Generating Station Unit 5 in Sheboygan to reduce NOx emissions. Construction is already underway on equipment to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter and mercury emissions at Columbia Energy Center Units 1 & 2 near Portage that WPL expects to be completed in 2014. When completed, combined these and other planned projects will have created approximately 1,100 new construction jobs.
Outlined in the settlement are further investment in environmental controls and clean air technology that will provide additional emission reductions in NOx, SO2, and particulate matter with the added benefit of also reducing mercury emissions at WPL's coal-fired electric generating facilities, as well as investment in other beneficial environmental projects.
Continued emission reductions:
As part of the settlement, WPL will:
- Install additional controls to reduce SO2 emissions from Edgewater Unit 5. WPL filed a construction application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for this project on July 27, 2012 and expects a decision from the PSCW in the second quarter of this year;
- Install additional controls at Columbia Unit 2, to reduce NOx emissions, which will prompt a Certificate of Authority filing with the PSCW expected in the second quarter of 2014; and
- Adhere to more stringent SO2 and NOx emission limits at its coal-fired generation fleet.
Unit retirements and fuel switching:
As previously announced as part of our energy resources strategy and also as part of the settlement, WPL will:
- Retire its older and less-efficient coal-fired units by the end of 2015; specifically:
- Nelson Dewey Units 1 & 2 located in Cassville, WI, which total approximately 200 MW; and
- Edgewater Unit 3, located in Sheboygan, WI, which is approximately 70 MW; and
- Either convert to natural gas or retire Edgewater Unit 4, which is approximately 300 MW, by the end of 2018. WPL's ownership share of Unit 4 is approximately 200 MW.
Conservation and clean energy:
WPL will invest $6.6 million in beneficial environmental projects over the next five years such as:
- Land and ecological restoration;
- Renewable energy; and
- Energy efficiency projects
Under the terms of the settlement, WPL will also pay a $1.8 million civil penalty.
In 2009, WPL received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the EPA alleging that WPL made past modifications to the Columbia, Edgewater, and Nelson Dewey Stations without following appropriate pre-construction review and permitting requirements. In September 2010, the Sierra Club filed complaints against WPL in the U.S. District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin making similar allegations.
WPL maintains that it has been and remains in compliance with the law. However, WPL entered into settlement discussions as a means to avoid costs to its customers, unnecessary delays, and ongoing uncertainty associated with litigation. Settlement negotiations resulted in a consent decree, which was filed with the U.S. District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.
WPL is one of many U.S. utility companies to receive a NOV as part of the EPA's Coal-Fired Power Plant Enforcement Initiative that began in 1998. Including WPL's settlement, there have now been more than 25 Coal-Fired Power Plant Enforcement Initiative-related settlements nationwide. This settlement is the fourth involving a Wisconsin-based utility.
The settlement agreement was reached after negotiations involving WPL, the co-owners of the Columbia Energy Center (Madison Gas and Electric Company and Wisconsin Public Service Company), the co-owner of Edgewater Unit 4 (Wisconsin Public Service Company), and the former co-owner of Edgewater Unit 5 (Wisconsin Electric Power Company), the EPA and Sierra Club. In total, all co-owners have agreed to invest $8.5 million in beneficial environmental projects over the next five years and pay a civil penalty totaling $2.45 million.
Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), based in Madison, Wis., provides electric service to approximately 460,000 customers and natural gas service to approximately 180,000 customers in more than 600 communities across central and southern Wisconsin. WPL is committed to providing the energy and exceptional service its customers and communities expect – safely, reliably, and affordably. WPL is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, for more information, visit alliantenergy.com or call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can be identified as such because the statements include words such as "future," "will," "expects," or other words of similar import. Similarly, statements that describe future plans or strategies, including all of the future generation plans which form WPL's energy resources strategy and future actions to comply with the EPA settlement, are also forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. Actual results could be affected by such factors as: state or federal regulatory actions or state or local government actions, including inability to obtain all necessary approvals and permits; unanticipated construction issues, delays or expenditures; current or future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries that could impede the implementation of the WPL's plans; failure of equipment and technology to perform as expected; changes to environmental regulations; changes to WPL's access to capital markets; political conditions in WPL's service territories; and economic conditions in WPL's service territory. These factors should be considered when evaluating the forward-looking statements and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. The forward-looking statements included herein are made as of the date hereof and Alliant Energy and WPL undertake no obligation to update publicly such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
SOURCE Wisconsin Power and Light Company