Upon entering Whelan Energy Center Unit 1, busy workers can be seen and heard throughout the coal-fired power station. So many workers, in fact, it’s hard to believe WEC1 is actually in shutdown mode.
“We don’t actually allow vacation time right now. We need everyone here,” said Tom Belau, director of electrical production at Hastings Utilities.
While planned outages for cleaning and repairs
are an annual routine for power plants, WEC1’s outage also involves $3.7 million in improvements to comply with tighter energy standards by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The unit went offline Oct. 12 and is expected to be down four to six weeks. HU is buying power from other sources during the outage, and customers should not have any interruption in service.
Once it’s up and running again, WEC1 will be in compliance with part of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which holds power plants to tighter environmental standards, including reducing the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants.