At this point, any specific impact to the Whelan Energy Center Unit 2 and ultimately the impact to end-use consumers in unknown. Fortunately, as a relatively new power plant, WEC 2 is already equipped with the best available emissions control technology. More than $200 million was spent on the best available environmental controls for WEC 2.
Important facts to remember:
- Retrofitting the plant is most likely not necessary because the best available technology has already been installed;
- Any curtailment of operation of the plant would likely increase electricity prices, ultimately affecting end-use consumers;
- Baseload plants such as WEC 2 are built to be run 24/7/365 over several decades (approximately 40 years) to obtain full investment value;
- Bond payments must be paid, regardless of whether the plant runs or not; and
- No current available technology to capture and store CO2.
The proposed EPA rules on carbon emissions are especially challenging for utilities because there is currently no commercially available technology existing today that allows for the capture and storage of carbon emissions.