Madison – Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) announced his strong support for converting Milwaukee’s outdated coal burning Valley Power Plant to run on natural gas.
Built in 1968, the Valley plant is a coal-fired power plant located in the center of Milwaukee. The power plant lacks modern pollution controls, and We Energies, the owner of the plant, has stated that it expects to make its decision before the end of the year on whether to install modern pollution controls for the plant, or to alternatively install natural gas powered generators.
“Milwaukee’s economy has changed significantly over the past half century, and it has been exciting to see our city tackle the resulting challenges and opportunities. No power source is perfect, but if we need a power plant in the heart of our city, I firmly believe using natural gas at the Valley plant would better supply the city’s foreseeable energy needs as well as helping to clean the air, water, and soil in our city and surrounding communities,” said Carpenter.
Domestic natural gas production has dramatically increased over the last several years and lower natural gas prices are prompting utilities across the country to consider replacing older coal power plants to cleaner natural gas.
Alliant Energy in Wisconsin will also reportedly make a decision within the year whether to either shut down a coal-fired plant in Sheboygan, known as Edgewater 4, or convert it to natural gas. That plant is of a similar age to the Menomonee Valley plant.
“We have found that cleaning up our city’s rivers and brownfields from our industrial past has spurred redevelopment and made the city more desirable place to work and to live. As residents and utility ratepayers in the community, we have an interest in making sure that the long-term outlook for the power plant includes removing barriers to economic development and better public health,” said Carpenter.
Senator Carpenter additionally noted the irony of having the power plant’s huge coal storage pile directly in front of the new School of Freshwater Sciences. “The huge coal pile is an eyesore, and the unsightly coal barges in the river seem to point to a different time with different priorities,” added Carpenter.
“The decision on how to best update the Valley plant is a once in a generation opportunity for our city. Let’s get it right,” said Carpenter.