Weston Power Plant Addition Means More Jobs, Cleaner Air

By: Colin Mayfield Email
By: Colin Mayfield Email
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The Weston Power Plant is preparing to build a state of the art addition that will be one of the first in the U.S.

In April, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin granted WPS approval to install a new multi-pollutant control system called “ReACT”. Not only will the project reduce emissions, it will be cost effective for the plant.

As the ReACT system takes mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide out of the air it willl also produce a bi-product that could be sold in north central Wisconsin.

The project is expected to cost around $250 million. Project Manager, Jayme Van Campenhout said it's typically very costly to produce separate systems to for each air pollutant, or removal of each air emission. Van Campenhout said, “It's designed to be a multi-pollutant system, that can remove multiple pollutants in one essential black box."

The power plant burns Powder River Basin coal as a fuel to generate electricity. Through that process sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury are released in controlled levels into the air. With the ReACT control project added to Weston Generating Unit 3, it will significantly reduce all of those emissions simultaneously.

The technology is the first of its kind to be used in the US, but other countries, like China, are already utilizing it.

Construction is set to begin in September of 2014 and is expected to be in full operational swing by 2016. The project is also expected to bring around 200 jobs to the area.

The Weston Power Plant's Unit 3 has been operating since 1981 and accounts for 9 percent of WPS customers energy needs.

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