- Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
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Wisconsin Energy Corporation Success Story
Implementation of an Environmental Management System at the Wisconsin Energy Corporation's Pleasant Prairie Power Plant allowed that facility the flexibility to take an innovative approach to address their fuel needs.
Typically at coal burning power plants, virgin coal is burned for energy and the resulting bottom and fly ash is then landfilled. When WEC engineers investigated their old landfills, they noticed that the ash was much darker than ash in newer fills. The darker ash actually contained unburned coal, and represented a potential energy source. However, an innovative approach was required in order to remove material from old landfills under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Development and implementation of the facility's EMS provided the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confidence in the plant's environmental management program. This enabled WEC and the Wisconsin DNR to sign an innovative environmental cooperative agreement that allowed a program to remove ash from the old landfills and reuse the material as part of a blended fuel source at Pleasant Prairie Power Plant.
In accordance with the agreement, recovered landfill material was blended with coal, resulting in a 100 percent utilization of materials. By the end of 2004, 390,000 tons of ash was reburned and 180,000 tons of fly ash was produced. Because of the cementitious characteristics of the fly ash, most of this final combustion product is used as a component in concrete. Using the fly ash to offset the manufacture of Portland cement resulted in 210,000 tons of avoided CO2 emissions.
WEC found that a properly implemented EMS can provide the management integrity necessary to implement new ideas and approaches. Recovering materials from landfills reduced their liability and the need for additional landfill capacity. WEC saved approximately twelve million dollars in avoided landfill expenses and over three million dollars in avoided coal purchases, savings they are able to pass to their customers.