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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Win-win at Oak Creek

From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

With all of the praise over the settlement reached this week on We Energies’ Oak Creek power plants, one might be tempted to ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Turns out, apparently nothing is. The deal allows We Energies and its two utility partners in the Oak Creek project to finish construction in a timely manner, provides needed help for Lake Michigan and expands renewable energy in Wisconsin.

And while the $105 million settlement will be paid for by electric customers ($100 million) and shareholders ($5 million), the price tag will be far less than it could have been under a protracted legal battle over the plant's cooling system. We hope that next time the issues can be settled without going to court, but the utilities involved and the environmental groups who fought the plant deserve credit for reaching a compromise that serves everyone.

The issue settled this week was a dispute over the water intake system that We Energies will deploy to draw 1.8 billion gallons of Lake Michigan water per day for cooling at the new power plant. Environmental groups opposed the intake pipe and were demanding that the utility construct more expensive cooling towers.

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