May 17, 2020

Coal at Plant to be Converted to Natural Gas

We Energies
Valley Power Plant
Natural Gas
Coal
Admin
3 min
How to reduce operating costs and pollution
MILWAUKEE, Aug 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -We Energies today announced plans to convert the fuel source for the Valley Power Plant from coal to natural gas...

 

MILWAUKEE, Aug 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -We Energies today announced plans to convert the fuel source for the Valley Power Plant from coal to natural gas.  The Valley plant is a cogeneration facility located along the Menomonee River in Milwaukee that generates electricity for the grid and produces steam for heating hundreds of downtown Milwaukee buildings. 

"For decades, the Valley plant has served a critical role – producing electricity, providing voltage support for the downtown Milwaukee business center, and delivering a reliable steam supply for some 450 customers, ranging from Northwestern Mutual to the Marquette University campus," said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer of We Energies. 

"Our analysis shows that converting the fuel source for the plant will reduce our operating costs and enhance the environmental performance of the Valley units," Klappa added.

The company plans to file an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for approval to modify the plant so that it will be capable of burning natural gas. The electric capacity of the plant is expected to remain at 280 megawatts.  If approval is received from the PSCW, We Energies expects the conversion to be completed in 2015 or 2016.

The cost of the conversion project is expected to total between $60 and $65 million.  Approximately 50 positions at the plant are likely to be eliminated in connection with the conversion to natural gas.  However, the impact on current employees will be minimized through reassignment to other We Energies sites and through retirement and normal attrition.

Over the past decade, emissions from the Valley plant have decreased significantly, including a 65 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions.  In October 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency commented on the air quality improvements noting that the monitor closest to the Valley plant -- the 16th Street Health Center monitor -- has the lowest monitored ozone levels in southeast Wisconsin.

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Klappa said that the conversion plan will secure Valley's role in meeting the energy needs of a vibrant downtown Milwaukee.

We Energies recently obtained a Certificate of Authority from the PSCW to upgrade an existing natural gas main to meet the future needs of natural gas customers in and along the Menomonee Valley and to provide a possible supply of fuel to the Valley plant.  Engineering of the gas main replacement and extension of the main west of Menomonee Valley is under way, with completion planned for 2014.

We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Gas LLC, the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC). Visit the We Energies website at we-energies.com. Learn more about Wisconsin Energy by visiting wisconsinenergy.com.

SOURCE We Energies

 

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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