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Wisconsin Business Briefs: Utility plans to covert coal plant into natural gas

KAUKAUNA - An electric utility plans to spend $440-million to buy an existing power plant in Kaukauna that's fueled by natural gas.

The Wisconsin Public Service Corporation of Green Bay said today it agreed to buy the Fox Energy Company plant that's owned by General Electric and Tyr-Energy. State and federal regulators would have to approve the deal. And if there are no snags, Public Service says the deal should be finalized by April first of next year. Utility president Chuck Cloninger said the purchase makes sense for a number of reasons. He said the natural gas plant would add diversity to a power generation fleet that relies heavily on burning coal. Cloninger also said the more economical natural gas would help reduce energy costs for Public Service customers.

Utilities are being pressured by the federal government to either shut down its coal-fired power plants, or add pollution controls.


Some major power outages around the nation will help a Waukesha company make more money than it expected for the most recent quarter. Generac Holdings said today it expects earnings of 72-to-77 cents per share - way up from the 47 cents that outside analysts had predicted for the period of July through September. Generac said its total revenues for the quarter will now be close to $300-million dollars. They were initially projected to be just under $240-million. Generac also said it expects revenues for the year to jump by more than 30-percent from 2011. The projected increase was in the 20-percent range. Investors responded to the news with strong trading that rose Generac's shares by over 12-percent this morning.