From an editorial in the Wausau Daily Herald:

Outside a recent open house WE Energies held to discuss its proposed biomass power plant in Rothschild, a group of residents distributed information outlining their concerns and objections to the plant.

It’s good for people to be engaged in a local matter that affects them, and we applaud residents for voicing their concerns. But in our judgment, the benefits that the biomass plant would bring our area far outweigh the costs.

The $250 million power plant would be a boon to the area, full of upsides. It would provide an economic boost, both in the 400 construction jobs required to build it and in the 150 permanent jobs that would staff the plant. It would boost the state and municipal tax base. And the technology it would employ is clean, renewable and low-emission, helping Wisconsin reach its goal of using 10 percent renewable energy by 2015.

The biomass plant, which would power the Domtar paper mill and provide electricity to the grid, would be fueled by burning wood waste — low-quality wood, unusable bark and such. That’s a good deal cleaner than burning coal and fossil fuels, and it’s a renewable resource.

This project needs to happen. WE Energies is waiting on state approval to begin construction, but says it hopes to have the plant up and running by fall of 2013.