Wisconsin Electric: Doing its part to mitigate mercury

MILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 1, 2001--With the opening of the Wisconsin fishing season beginning this weekend, there may be a lot of attention directed to the impacts of mercury on aquatic life and on the fish-consuming public. Wisconsin Electric, the state's largest utility, acknowledges the potential health risk posed by mercury and has become a nationwide leader in its efforts to understand and mitigate mercury emissions from its operations.

"Wisconsin Electric has been actively supporting the assessment of mercury control technologies with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and various research and industry groups for many years," said Ramsay Chang, manager of air pollution control for EPRI. "Significant progress has been made in the understanding of mercury emission control technologies, and in developing models and test equipment to evaluate these technologies. Wisconsin Electric has helped EPRI and the utility industry determine the feasibility for mercury control at different power plant sites, the cost impacts, and the issues that need to be further addressed."

Mercury is a silver-colored heavy-metal that is liquid at room temperature. Small amounts of mercury are naturally present in soil and water, but the vast majority of mercury in the atmosphere is in vapor form. High levels of certain mercury compounds can pose serious health risks. Certain forms of mercury that are released to the air settle in water and can be converted to other, more toxic forms that accumulate in fish and other wildlife.

"We support all efforts to increase public awareness of mercury and its potential dangers," said Kris McKinney, manager of environmental strategy for Wisconsin Electric. "We also want the public to know what measures our company has taken over the years to understand and mitigate mercury emissions from our operations."

For more than a decade, Wisconsin Electric has been a leader in funding research to help understand how much mercury is emitted from its operations, clarifying what happens to mercury that is deposited in aquatic systems and developing mercury control technologies. From 1999 through 2001, Wisconsin Electric will spend more than $1.4 million on mercury research, development and demonstration projects. For example, WE has committed more than $170,000 for a voluntary, cooperative research program with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and EPRI to determine the effects of mercury on loon reproduction. In addition, WE's Pleasant Prairie Power Plant was selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy to perform detailed testing of various sorbent materials to reduce the mercury emitted by coal-based power plants.

Wisconsin Electric supports continued research and reasonable solutions to reducing the amount of mercury in the air emitted by its power plants.

"However, it's not just a state problem, it's a national and even international problem," said McKinney. "If Wisconsin were to impose stringent requirements that only pertained to Wisconsin utility companies, that would put us at a distinct competitive disadvantage relative to our neighboring states where control measures have not been enacted. We continue to be receptive to developing an effective and practical mercury control program, particularly as part of an integrated air quality approach."

Stringent mercury reduction proposals could in effect stall or even prevent Wisconsin Energy's (the parent of Wisconsin Electric) Power the Future proposal, which would significantly reduce air emissions and increase the amount of energy generated from renewable resources along with additional energy efficiency efforts. The Power the Future plan adds new generation through a prudent mix of both natural gas and coal, using state-of-the-art combustion and emission control technologies.

"Our obligation as a utility is to balance environmental needs with the state's growing need for cost-effective and reliable energy," said McKinney. "We will continue to advocate and participate in responsible mercury reduction efforts."

Wisconsin Energy Corporation is a Milwaukee-based holding company with subsidiaries in utility and non-utility businesses. The company serves more than 1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and 957,000 natural gas customers in Wisconsin through its utility subsidiaries - Wisconsin Electric, Wisconsin Gas and Edison Sault Electric. Its non-utility subsidiaries include energy services and development, pump manufacturing, waste-to-energy and real estate businesses. Visit the company's Web site at www.WisconsinEnergy.com.

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Wisconsin utilities settle with EPA over coal fired units

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin settled with Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (WPL) to reduce emissions from three coal-fired power plants in the state.

Wisconsin Energy buys NextEra wind farm

Wisconsin Energy Corp. has agreed to buy a 30 MW Dodgeville, Wisc.-area wind farm for $27 million.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Current Issue

10/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 10
1410pe-cover

Power Industry Wire News

Magnum Hunter Resources Announces Closing of New Credit Facilities and Refinancing of Prior Revolving Credit Facility

Magnum Hunter Resources Announces Closing of New Credit Facilities and Refinancing of P...

Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. Grabs Top Spot on Solar Power World's 2014 Top 400 Solar Commercial Contractors List

Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. Grabs Top Spot on Solar Power World's 2014 Top 400 Solar...

Welocalize Sponsors and Exhibits at Localization World 2014 in Vancouver

Welocalize Sponsors and Exhibits at Localization World 2014 in Vancouver

Falconridge Oil Technologies Corp. Discusses Mission Statement for Growth of Terra Slicing Alternative Fracking Technology

Falconridge Oil Technologies Corp. Discusses Mission Statement for Growth of Terra Slic...

Semitech Debuts Single-Chip, Grid-Connected Signal Controller for IoT Applications

Semitech Debuts Single-Chip, Grid-Connected Signal Controller for IoT Applications

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>


Power Engineering Newscasts

EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy
Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina
Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational
EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina Texas’ Panda Temple combined cycle plant up and running
Siemens agrees to acquire Dresser-Rand
Safety concrete poured at UAE nuclear reactor power project
Foster Wheeler to upgrade natural gas-fired power plant’s emission controls
GE, TransCanada partner on natural gas turbine design
Energy storage global market to grow to $15.6B by 2024; DOE awards $2M to support taller wind turbine towers; Hinkley Point C nuclear project have financial incentives approved; N.J. company building waste-to-energy project in Ireland