Alliant proposes 300-MW coal-unit in Wisconsin

HOUSTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Alliant Energy Corp.'s LNT.N Wisconsin Power and Light unit asked state regulators to approve its plan to build a 300-megawatt unit coal-fired plant, the company said on Wednesday.

To meet growing electric demand, WP&L proposes building a new coal unit at the Nelson Dewey site in Cassville, Wisconsin, as a first choice, or at the Columbia Energy Center near Portage as an alternate.

Demand for electricity is growing by more than 3 percent a year, Barbara Swan, WP&L president, said in a release.

The new generator, expected to be operating in 2012 and to cost more than $700 million, would utilize circulating-fluidized bed technology which reduces the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emitted.

Limestone is used to both fluidize the coal during combustion and to capture sulfur. Limestone also lowers the operating temperatures resulting in reduced formation of nitrogen oxides.

Swan said the Dewey site was chosen because building a generator there will reduce existing transmission congestion in the state, allowing power imports to rise by 625 megawatts, a 25 percent jump.

The company seeks a 12.95 percent return on equity on its and 50 percent common equity in the regulatory capital structure.

WP&L said it plans to spend $60 million to expand existing barge transportation facilities at the Dewey site and to add rail access.

Alliant Energy has about 1 million electric and 420,000 natural gas customers in the Midwest. WP&L serves 453,000 electric and 179,000 gas customers.