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Nelson Dewey Generating Station

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Nelson Dewey Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Alliant Energy's Wisconsin Power & Light Company near Cassville, Wisconsin.

In July 2012 Wisconsin Power & Light said it will shut down three aging, coal-fired electricity generating units by the end of 2015, including the Nelson Dewey Generating Station. [1]

Plant shut-down

In July 2012 Wisconsin Power & Light said it will shut down three aging, coal-fired electricity generating units by the end of 2015, and had not decided yet how to replace the power.

Plans included closing down the Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville.[2]

On April 22, 2013, WP&L settled air pollution violations with the EPA by agreeing to spend $1.2 billion to clean up coal-fired power plants and shut down older plants. The company agreed to stop burning coal at the Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville and two of the three boilers at the Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan, retiring 590 megawatts of coal. The company will also add pollution controls to the Edgewater Generating Station and the Columbia Energy Center in Portage, co-owned by Madison Gas & Electric.[3]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Wisconsin Power & Light Company
  • Parent Company: Alliant Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 200 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 100 MW (1959), 100 MW (1962)
  • Location: 11999 County Rd. VV, Cassville, WI 53806
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.7247, -91.0058
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,710,358 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Coal Waste Sites

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Nelson Dewey Generating Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[4] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Nelson Dewey Generating Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 14 $100,000,000
Heart attacks 22 $2,500,000
Asthma attacks 240 $12,000
Hospital admissions 10 $240,000
Chronic bronchitis 9 $3,900,000
Asthma ER visits 15 $6,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011.

2008: Proposed 300 MW addition rejected

Wisconsin Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, proposed a 300 MW coal plant at its existing Nelson Dewey facility in Cassville, near the Mississippi River. The plant would utilize circulating fluidized bed technology; 10% of fuel burned at the plant would be biomass.[6]

On June 5, 2007 – for the second time that year – the state Public Service Commission (PSC) sent back Alliant’s permit application, asking for more information on air emissions and other environmental issues. On Dec. 20, 2007, the PSC accepted Alliant’s application as complete; a decision on the application is expected by the end of 2008.[7]

In May, 2008, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassville plant. The EIS identified several serious impacts that would be caused at the Cassville location, including damage to the bed of the Mississippi River, harm to a rare species of mussels, and potential destruction of a 20-acre forest.[8]

The company has proposed an alternate site for their plant in Portage, Wisconsin.[9] According to the Sierra Club, a plant built at this location "would also have several negative environmental impacts, including posing a threat to the habitats of several endangered or threatened species."[10]

In November 2008, state regulators voted unanimously to reject the plant, citing concerns about global warming as well as the plant's $1.3 billion price tag, which had ballooned almost 60 percent from 2007 due to rising construction costs. The PSC noted that the likelihood of future regulations on carbon emissions will make it difficult for any new coal plant to be built in Wisconsin.[11]

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. Judy Newan, "Wisconsin Power & Light unveils $1.4 billion plan to clean up energy production," Wisconsin State Journal, July 27, 2012.
  2. Judy Newan, "Wisconsin Power & Light unveils $1.4 billion plan to clean up energy production," Wisconsin State Journal, July 27, 2012.
  3. Thomas Content, "EPA settles with Wisconsin utilities on coal plant air pollution: $1.2 billion will be spent to clean up power plants," Journal Sentinel, April 22, 2013.
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  6. Alliant Proposes 300-MW Coal Unit in Wisconsin, Reuters UK, February 7, 2007.
  7. PSC Accepts Alliant's Coal Plant Application, Capital Times, December 21, 2007.
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  9. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  10. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed June 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  11. PSC rejects Alliant Energy's proposed coal plant," Journal Sentinel, November 11, 2008.

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