The WEC Energy Group subsidiary said the project, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017, will enable it to burn more low-sulfur Powder River Basin coal in Oak Creek, in the process saving its customers millions of dollars in lower fuel costs.

The PRB coal will be blended with higher-sulfur Appalachian coal in Oak Creek Units 1 and 2, which have a combined generating capacity of 1,230 megawatts.

According to the utility, fuel savings could amount to $31 million annually if Oak Creek is able to burn a blend of 60% PRB coal as a result of the coal storage expansion. Savings could amount to $78 million a year if the PRB share rises to 100%. Currently, the plant burns approximately 20% PRB coal.

Once the stockpile area is increased, We Energies expects to receive one additional coal train a week at Oak Creek.

Oak Creek’s two newest generating units, placed in operation during the past few years, burn about 3.3 million tons of coal annually. The plant’s older units burn about 3.1 million tons a year.