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How WPS prepares generation facilities for hot summer days

Tips to stay cool
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Posted at 4:23 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 11:38:49-04

WRIGHTSTOWN (NBC 26) — In this extreme heat, Wisconsin Public Service takes necessary steps to ensure its power plants are working properly so air conditioners and fans stay on.

NBC 26 toured the WPS Fox Energy Center in Wrightstown Tuesday.

"This part of the facility is where we have our generation turbines," said Matt Cullen, WPS spokesperson. "These are the units that spin to help generate the electricity that is then put out onto the transmission system."

Cullen said demand for energy reaches its peak on hot days like Tuesday. To meet that need, Cullen said WPS plants will sometimes run more turbines.

"We have our natural gas turbine that is right over here. And then the exhaust from that actually goes into a heat recovery unit, and that generates steam that is then used to operate another turbine and generate additional electricity for our customers," Cullen said.

Planning is key to ensuring the generation facilities operate correctly on hot days. Cullen said regular maintenance and any updates are done in the spring.

"It really goes back to that planning and preparation aspect, making sure that our generation facilities have that maintenance done ahead of time when the demand for energy is lower than it is during the summer months, so those generators and those generation units can continue to operate efficiently, safely and reliably for our customers," Cullen said.

Paula Rieder, Outagamie County Emergency Management director, said it's important people protect themselves from heat exhaustion.

"Avoid doing strenuous activities outdoors during the hottest parts of the day," Rieder said. "If you must work outside, take breaks often."

Rieder also suggests drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, wearing lighter clothes, and getting into air conditioning when needed.

She said checking in on elderly neighbors and those without air conditioning is also important.

"Those people are most susceptible in this type of weather where it's extremely hot, and if they don't have a way to get out of the heat and cool themselves down they experience more medical issues than some people may," Rieder said.

The following places are listed as public cooling sites in Outagamie County, as well as the Shiocton Public Library and Shiocton Fire Hall: