West Campus Cogeneration Facility

West Campus Cogeneration FacilityThe West Campus Cogeneration Facility (WCCF) began serving the Madison community in the spring of 2005. This natural gas-fired facility is capable of providing approximately 150 megawatts of electricity to MGE customers as well as 500,000 lb/hr steam heat and 30,000 tons of chilled-water air-conditioning to the UW-Madison campus.

MGE and UW-Madison jointly own the power plant. MGE owns the assets related to electric production, while UW-Madison owns the steam heat and chilled-water assets. Since this single facility meets multiple energy needs, it reduces electricity costs and air emissions. Through the efficiency of cogeneration and state-of-the-art emissions controls, it is one of the cleanest power plants in the Midwest.

How WCCF operates

How WCCF Operates
  1. Two natural gas-fired combustion turbines drive generators to produce electricity.
  2. The hot combustion gases from each turbine pass through a corresponding heat-recovery steam generator (HRSG) to produce steam. The HRSGs contain duct burners to produce additional steam as needed.
  3. The high- and low-pressure steam from the HRSGs passes through a single extracting/condensing steam turbine that sends heating steam to the UW and produces electricity for the Madison area.
  4. The exhaust steam is sent to a condenser and then cooled by cooling towers. This process forms water that is reused.
  5. Centrifugal chillers provide 30,000 tons of chilled-water capacity. Electric-driven chillers use roof-mounted cooling towers for heat rejection.
  6. The steam heat and chilled water is used on the UW-Madison campus.
  7. The electricity is sent to an adjacent substation and then to the Madison area.

How often WCCF operates

WCCF's operation depends on several factors—from reliability needs to overall costs. Also impacting WCCF are UW-Madison's needs for steam heat.

MGE is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). MISO is a not-for-profit organization that is responsible for the coordination and delivery of reliable electric power across all or parts of 15 states, including Wisconsin, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO is one of several regional transmission organizations in North America.

MISO continuously monitors and adjusts generation output as the need for electricity moves up and down throughout daily 24-hour periods across the region. MISO coordinates what power resources are used to generate electricity and the transmission needed to move that electricity.

WCCF is one of many regional generating facilities offered into MISO’s daily energy supply. When deciding what power sources to use, MISO considers:

  • What power resources are available, or operating in the region;
  • Regional reliability needs; and
  • Overall costs.

WCCF also provides steam heat to the UW-Madison campus. That means it also can be called into operation even if MISO isn't requesting its service.

Working with the community

MGE and the UW-Madison worked closely with others to take steps beyond current environmental regulations and further mitigate environmental impacts. Agreements with the City of Madison and neighborhood and environmental groups included:

  • A $220,000 renewable energy project. We installed 37 photovoltaic fixtures that use clean solar energy to light a section of a bike path along Campus Drive.
  • A $50,000 project to reduce volatile organic compound emissions and improve air quality.

Odana Hills Groundwater Recharge Project

This groundwater recharge project is designed to mitigate the impacts of water use by the West Campus Cogeneration Facility. It will infiltrate storm water runoff from the Odana Pond into the groundwater system.