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We Energies Biomass Plant Goes Online
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/12/2013

Developers of a new biomass power plant near Wausau say their facility is now officially in production mode. We Energies announced that the operation, which sits on the site of Domtar Corporation's Rothschild paper mill, went online Friday after testing and commissioning activities were successfully completed.

The utility says wood, waste wood and sawdust are being used to produce up to 50 megawatts of electricity, with the steam provided by the plant used to support Domtar's sustainable papermaking operations.

"The addition of the biomass plant enables us to produce renewable energy on demand," said We Energies President Gale Klappa. "That benefit is simply not available with solar or wind generation."

More than 400 workers contributed to the construction of the $268 million 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.

Under Wisconsin law, utilities must use renewable energy to meet 10 percent of the electricity needs of their retail customers by the year 2015. With the commercial operation of the Rothschild biomass plant, We Energies estimates that it now has secured enough renewable energy to remain in compliance with the state mandate through 2022.

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.

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