August 5, 2008

Sparks Fly Over Proposed Cassville Power Plant


Study highlights 3 During the expected 44 months of construction, traffic would average about 340 worker vehicles per day, with peak- day volumes reaching about 640. 3 During operation, the overall number of truck deliveries used for biomass fuel would range from 43 to 105 per day. 3 Noise levels from normal operations in the surrounding area would not increase more than 3 to 5 decibels. 3 Trains of 125 coal cars would be delivered every four or five days; noise from coal unloading and coal pile maintenance would cease between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.MADISON, Wis. - Alliant Energy was "disappointed" by portions of the final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Cassville power plant, according to a spokesman, while an opponent of the project said it helps make their case.Alliant spokesman Rob Crain said that the three-volume study released last week by the Public Service Commission and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources "doesn't address" the improvements the Nelson Dewey 3 plant will have on relieving congested lines that bring power into the state."There's a bottleneck on the transmission grid now in southwest Wisconsin. Nelson Dewey 3 relieves that bottleneck and allows for greater importing of power from the west," Crain said.Compared to neighboring states, Wisconsin has few interstate transmission lines linking it to power sources elsewhere. In response, a new high-voltage line was built to bring in power produced in Manitoba, and the Public Service Commission recently approved construction of a line from Illinois to Dane County.The final EIS also "doesn't address" Alliant's carbon reduction plan proposed to offset Nelson Dewey's emissions, Crain said. In exchange for approving the proposed plant, Alliant offered to close its oldest operating coal-fired power plant near Sheboygan, implement increased efficiency measures and double the amount of biomass fuel that will power Nelson Dewey 3 from 10 to 20 percent.Clean Wisconsin spokesman Peter Taglia said the final EIS supports the organization's position that the plant "makes no sense as it (is) too expensive to build," and will emit more carbon when cleaner fuels are available.Taglia cites numbers in the study that show at $1.2 billion to build, Nelson Dewey 3 will produce 300 megawatts of power. In comparison, the PSC authorized $2.3 billion in construction costs for WE Energies' 1,250-megawatt plant currently being built south of Milwaukee.WE Energies will use "super critical" coal at the expansion of its Oak Creek plant that burns at higher temperatures, which creates more power and less emissions than the coal to be used at Nelson Dewey, said Barry McNulty, a WE Energies spokesman.Comparing construction costs alone, Oak Creek will produce a kilowatt of power for $1,840, while Nelson Dewey 3 will produce it for $4,000, Taglia said. McNulty cautioned that such comparisons aren't entirely useful, as Oak Creek's size allows it to produce power more efficiently than the smaller plant proposed for Cassville.Crain and Taglia both said they look forward to presenting their cases at public hearings scheduled for 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Cassville Elementary School.

Originally published by KEVIN MURPHY For the TH.

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