The plant’s closing also means less air pollution and a smaller carbon footprint for state’s largest utility holding company and should help southeastern Wisconsin address longstanding ozone air emission problems.

The power plant employs 158 people and the company said it will try to keep many of the employees by redeploying them to other facilities.

Environmental groups applauded the news of the shift away from coal.

In a related development, the company said it has plans to own and develop 350 megawatts of solar power by 2020 when it teams up with a partner not yet identified. A site for the project also has not yet been identified.

The utility’s plans for solar would make it the largest renewable project in the state. The next largest project, generating 100 megawatts, is planned next to the Point Beach nuclear power plant near Two Rivers.

The move into solar is a recognition of falling prices and technological improvements.

– via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / Lee Bergquist