WE Energies Wisconsin biomass plant nearly complete

By Anna Simet | October 30, 2013

WE Energies’ 50-megawatt biomass cogeneration plant in Rothschild, Wis., is nearly complete. The plant has been in development for the last four years and is located at the site of Domtar’s century-old paper mill, which it will supply steam to.

According to CEO Gale Klappa, the power facility is now 97 percent finished and is on schedule for commercial operation before the end of the year. 

Klappa said several significant milestones have recently been achieved, including a first-fire using natural gas on Sept. 17. “A week later, we synchronized the steam turbine generator for the first time,” he said. “Oct. 3 was the first-fire using biomass, and we’re continuing to test and fine various systems on the unit in preparation for commercial operation.”

He added that the overall investment is expected to total about $269 million, excluding allowance for funds used during construction.

The power facility will use around 500,000 tons per year of woody biomass material, which will come ready-to-burn from Domtar’s fuel yard, or will be shredded or chipped off site by suppliers.

Vendors for the project include Metso, which supplied the circulating fluidized bed boiler, and General Electric, which supplied the steam turbine and generator. Boldt Construction of Appleton, Wis., is the project manager.

Read more about the project here