Edgewater Generating Station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} Edgewater Generating Station was a 893.7-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Alliant Energy's Wisconsin Power & Light near Sheboygan, Wisconsin.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Wisconsin Power & Light Company
  • Parent Company: Alliant Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 834 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 30.0 MW (1931), Unit 2: 30.0 MW (1941), Unit 3: 69.0 MW (1951), Unit 4: 351.0 MW (1969), Unit 5: 413.7 MW (1985)
  • Location: 3739 Lakeshore Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53082
  • GPS Coordinates: 43.715853, -87.710084
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub-bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Coal Creek Mine (Arch Coal), North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peabody Coal), Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal), Cordero Rojo Mine (Cloud Peak)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Units 1 & 2 have been retired in 2008, Unit 3 was retired in December 2015, Unit 4 was retired in September 2018.[2]

Proposed coal retirement

In July 2012 Wisconsin Power & Light said it will shut down three aging, coal-fired electricity generating units by the end of 2015. Plans included:[3]

Close the 60-megawatt Edgewater Generating Station Unit 3 generator in Sheboygan;
Either close Edgewater Generating Station Unit 4 or convert it to burn natural gas by the end of 2018; and
Add scrubbers to Edgewater Generating Station Unit 5 to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.

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.[4]

We Energies Seeks to Sell Share

On December 9, 2009 We Energies, which owns a 25 percent stake in Edgewater Generating Station, announced it was looking to sell its share in the company. We Energies cited the $38 million it is to contribute to the installation of scrubber technology, which would ultimately cost $150 million, as the main reason for its attempted sale. The remaining 75 percent of the company is owned by Alliant Energy. We Energies does not believe the putting money into scrubbers technology is a wise investment. The Sierra Club's John Muir Chapter was vocal in pushing for equipment to be installed.[5][6]

March 2011: We Energies sells share to WP&L

On March 1, 2011, We Energies sold its stake in the plant for $38 million to Wisconsin Power & Light Company of Madison. WP&L already owns the remainder of the plant, known as Edgewater Unit 5. We Energies sought to sell its stake in the plant because it said it made more sense for its customers to sell it rather than keep it and have to pay for a share of WP&L’s project to install environmental controls at the plant. Construction began in Fall 2010 on the environmental control project, which is expected to cost $150 million. The deal was originally scheduled to be completed by 2010, but regulators in Michigan said We Energies didn’t try hard enough to negotiate a good deal for customers. As a result, the Michigan Public Service Commission said the utility should be allowed to sell the plant only if the value of the deal for the utility’s Michigan customers was placed at $60 million. We Energies challenged the Michigan PSC ruling, defending its efforts to get a good deal for its customers and raising other legal concerns about the Michigan decision. That matter is still pending.[7]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,103,545 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 15,759 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 5,002 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 212 lb.

Coal Waste Sites

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Edgewater 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.[8] 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.[9]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 44 $320,000,000
Heart attacks 71 $7,700,000
Asthma attacks 740 $38,000
Hospital admissions 33 $760,000
Chronic bronchitis 27 $12,000,000
Asthma ER visits 45 $16,000

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

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