Gov says no to coal for state power plants

Friday, August 01, 2008

From a story by Bill Novak from The Capital Times:

Using coal at state-owned heating plants is not an option that should be considered as a fuel source, according to a directive issued Friday by Gov. Jim Doyle.

The directive to move away from coal is in line with recommendations made by the governor's task force on global warming.

"The state should lead by example and move away from our dependence on coal at the state-owned heating plants in Madison," Doyle said. "Global warming demands leadership, and as we plan for the future of the Madison heating facilities, we must chart a course that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and encourages new alternative energy sources."

A comprehensive heating plant feasibility study released Friday looked at 13 options for the three existing state-owned heating plants in Madison and a possible new combined heating plant, and coal is not in the mix.

"The state should seriously explore the possibility of eliminating coal at the plants considered in this study and move to technologies and fuels that will provide a cleaner energy future for the capital city," the study said.

The plants provide steam for heat and chilled water for cooling at state agency buildings and the UW-Madison campus.

The Charter Street Heating Plant has five boilers, four of which are permitted to burn coal (or paper-derived fuel, tire-derived fuel and wood), with the fifth boiler burning oil or natural gas.

The Capitol Heat and Power Plant, which supplies steam and chilled water to the Capitol and other buildings, has four boilers, two permitted to burn coal and two burning natural gas or oil.

The Walnut Street Heating Plant has three natural gas or oil boilers.

The proposed Isthmus Combined Energy Plant would use a combination of gas/oil boilers or biomass boilers and would replace both the Charter and Capitol plants in a full-scale option or just the Capitol plant in a reduced-scale option.

The study summary says no one option of the 13 options analyzed ranked first in all criteria, but all options would bring the Charter Street plant into compliance with the Clean Air Act.