“I don’t see natural gas going away,” Valk said. “Our obligation is to ensure to the residents of this state that they have credible power. It’s not fair for us to sit and wait and see if anything happens.”
Commissioner Ellen Nowak, appointed by former Government Scott Walker, accused the Sierra Club of offering “false alternatives”.
“We need to have all kinds of energy production in our hands,” Novak said. “I don’t believe we should ever deplete resources of any kind.”
The project includes two storage facilities at Ixonia and Bluff Creek where the natural gas will be cooled to -260 degrees to reduce its volume. At times of high demand, each system will hold one billion cubic feet of gas, when it is heated and vaporized.
Tuesday’s announcement will mean the end of coal-fired power for Madison Gas & Electric, a small part of the state’s newest and largest power plant, the 1,400-MW Elm Road Generating Station.
Utilities say the facility will eliminate the need to contract additional pipeline capacity, which will only be needed a few days a year or pay a premium when demand is high, as spot prices fell during the cold last winter. There was a jump. up to 10,000%.
The geology of Wisconsin does not allow for underground storage, and utilities underground storage sites in Michigan rely on pipeline capacity for distribution.
The project is expected to result in a rate increase of 4.4 to 4.5%.