Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New biomass power plant in Wisconsin

It took more than two years of construction for $268 million biomass power plant in north-central Wisconsin to start producing power. The sawmills and forests of northern Wisconsin will provide fuel for this plant which will provide electricity for We Energies and steam for Domtar's paper mill.

This biomass power plant will not only provide the state with more renewable energy thus helping her achieve its renewable energy goal but should also help diversify its energy portfolio with more focus on renewables. The state's renewable energy mandate requires the utility to generate 8.2% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

As compared to solar and wind energy projects in the state, there is also an advantage in the fact that this plant can produce renewable energy on demand because biomass isn't intermittent energy source like solar and wind.

In over two years that were needed to construct this plant, 450 workers were employed. Though this project is significantly more expensive than the construction of wind farm of similar capacity the Public Service Commission still announced that the higher costs were justified because of the ability to generate power on demand thus being more reliable than wind farm.

It has been said that this biomass power plant will burn 500,000 tons of biomass a year with supply coming from many sawmills, paper mills and loggers. The total costs connected with this project are said to be $268 million, but a federal grant that is expected to be awarded in 2014 should reduce this number by about $80 million.

The plant is expected generate enough power to supply 32,000 homes.