NERA's Testimony before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on behalf of the Wisconsin Electric Power Company

The Situation

On 21 June 2007, the Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) filed an application with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for permission to construct wet flue gas desulfurization and selective catalytic reduction facilities for four coal-fired units at its Oak Creek Power Plant in Milwaukee and Racine Counties. WEPCO proposed to construct the facilities to meet new air emissions requirements for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. WEPCO also requested that the Commission hold a hearing in the docket, because it was aware that the Citizens' Utility Board and Clean Wisconsin would object to the proposed construction.

WEPCO argued that retrofitting the four units was both necessary and more cost-effective than retiring and replacing them. To support its case, WEPCO conducted a break-even analysis and a series of studies to illustrate the feasibility of its proposal. The Citizens' Utility Board and Clean Wisconsin, however, argued that WEPCO had failed to adequately justify the necessity for installing pollution control equipment, or to sufficiently model scenarios in which two units would be retired and two would be retrofitted.

NERA's Role

NERA Vice President Jonathan Falk and Special Consultant Dr. Karl McDermott testified on behalf of WEPCO. Mr. Falk argued that the company's studies amply justified the decision to add scrubbing equipment to the plants. Dr. McDermott testified that conservation efforts could not reasonably be expected to replace the plant's output.

The Result

Following the testimony of the NERA experts, on 27 June 2008, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved WEPCO's proposal to install pollution control equipment to its Oak Creek power plant in Racine and Milwaukee Counties.