We Energies to convert Valley power plant to natural gas

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MILWAUKEE -- We Energies announced plans on Friday to convert its coal-burning Valley power plant to cleaner-burning natural gas.

We Energies will file an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to convert the plant to natural gas. The company predicts the conversion to be completed in 2015 or 2016 if approval is received.

The cost of the conversion project is expected to total between $60 and $65 million. Approximately 50 positions at the plant are likely to be eliminated in connection with the conversion to natural gas. However, We Energies says the impact on current employees will be minimized through reassignment to other We Energies sites and through retirement and normal attrition.

“Our analysis shows that converting the fuel source for the plant will reduce our operating costs and enhance the environmental performance of the Valley units,” said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer of We Energies.

In a news release issued by Clean Wisconsin Friday, clean energy specialist Katy Walter applauded the conversion saying, "Today’s announcement is a victory for the 24,000 residents who live within one mile of Valley and suffer from the pollution coming from the plant every day roval is received."

The Valley plant is a facility that generates electricity for the grid and produces steam for heating hundreds of downtown Milwaukee buildings. 

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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