Weston Unit 4

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} This project is being built by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, south of Wausau, WI. Dairyland Power has a 150 MW share of this plant. Construction began in Oct. 2004, and WPS expects the plant to be online by June 2008.[1] Currently, the plant is in the two month initial start-up phase. The plant produced electricity on March 20, 2008. [2] The Sierra Club has contested the project’s air permits; the administrative judge assigned to the case agreed that more stringent pollution controls were legally required, but refused to halt construction of the plant. The Sierra Club has appealed the case to the Wisconsin state court.[3]

On February 12, 2009, the Court affirmed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources's approval of the air permit. According to the Sierra Club, they are considering appealing the case in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.[4]

Project Details

Sponsor: Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
Location: Wausau, Marathon County, WI
Capacity: 500 MW
Type: Pulverized coal
Projected in service: 2008
Status: Construction


Citizen Groups


A 2011 Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies report, "A Fraction of the Jobs" found that coal-fired power plants underestimate jobs by more than half. The analysis looked at the six largest new coal-fired power plants to come online between 2005 and 2009, including Weston Unit 4, and combed through each project’s initial proposals and job projection data, including public statements, published documents and other material. They then compared hat data to actual employment — before, during and after construction — in the areas where the projects were built, relying chiefly on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.[5]

They found that only a little over half - or 56 percent - of every 1,000 jobs projected, appeared to be actually created as a result of the coal plants’ coming online. In four of the six counties, the projects delivered on just over a quarter of the jobs projected. Only one county, the Walter Scott unit number 4 project in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, saw an increase in construction employment that was roughly commensurate with the numbers predicted before the project there got under way.[5]

Construction Employment Change in Counties with New Coal Plants

Plant County Total Projected Employment Actual County Construction Employment Change (Peak) Actual Change as % of Projection
Sandow Unit 5 Milam 1,370 463 33.7%
Nebraska City Station Unit 2 Otoe N/A -73 N/A
Weston Unit 4 Marathon 1,200 429 35.7%
Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4 Pottawattamie 1,000 2,407 240.7%
Cross 3 & 4 Berkeley 1,400 509 36.3%
Oak Grove Units 1 & 2 Robertson 2,400 329 13.7%



  1. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation website, accessed January 2008.
  2. [1], accessed April 2008.
  3. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tom Zeller, "Coal, Jobs and America’s Energy Future" NY Times, March 31, 2011.

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