We Energies has brought its biomass-fueled power plant located on the site of Domtar Corporation’s Rothschild, Wisconsin, paper mill into commercial operation Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 after testing and commissioning activities were successfully completed. Wood, waste wood and sawdust are being used to produce up to 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity; steam provided by the plant is also supporting Domtar’s sustainable papermaking operations. In addition, Domtar’s use of the steam produced by the plant will help improve the paper mill’s energy efficiency and reduce overall emissions at the site by more than 30 percent.
“The addition of the biomass plant enables us to produce renewable energy on demand,” said Gale Klappa, We Energies chairman, president and chief executive officer. “That benefit is simply not available with solar or wind generation.”
The company’s renewable energy portfolio includes the state’s two largest wind developments – the 145-MW Blue Sky Green Field Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac County and the 162-MW Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County. Together, these three projects are capable of delivering nearly 360 MW of renewable energy, enough to supply approximately 120,000 homes.
“These renewable energy projects, fueled by Wisconsin resources, were developed largely through the talents of Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin labor,” added Klappa.
More than 400 workers contributed to the construction of the biomass plant, which also will support approximately 150 permanent jobs in the region, including independent wood suppliers and haulers from northern and central Wisconsin who will secure waste wood for the project.