A news release from Alliant Energy:

MADISON, WI – November 5, 2009 – Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), an Alliant Energy company, has begun testing the usage of biomass at its Nelson Dewey Generating Station. The move comes after the company received a Research and Testing Exemption from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to test burn various biomass fuels at the site.

The WDNR approval allows for the co-firing to be done for a 12-month period within the facility’stwo cyclone coal boilers. Throughout the test burn process, WPL will examine a number of factors including environmental impacts, supply chain capabilities, material delivery and handling costs, and the blending and combustion of biomass based materials within the current plant configuration. No permanent structures or modifications will be made to the existing facility’s equipment to accommodate the test burns.

“We continually work to explore the technologies and costs associated with reducing our carbon footprint and this is another step in that process,” explains Barbara Swan, President – WPL.

“Conducting these test burns at Nelson Dewey will help us understand the capabilities we have within our current system.”

Biomass-based fuels approved for test burning within the current fuel blends include wood chips, agricultural based pellets, as well as native grasses. Other biofuel opportunities may present themselves during the testing, thus WPL would seek to update the test program, upon approval of the WDNR, to include any additions.