From an editorial in the Wausau Daily Herald:
The news that Milwaukee’s We Energies is planning to build a massive 50-megawatt power plant at the Domtar paper mill in Rothschild is an almost immediate boon to the local economy. Beyond that, it could be a promising sign for future economic development in central Wisconsin.
. . . .the new plant will burn waste generated by Domtar — sawmill waste and other recycled mill waste, as well as waste wood — to produce steam that will fuel turbines that generate electricity. That electricity will make the Domtar mill virtually self-sufficient, and the rest of the power will be sent to We Energy’s grid.
It’s estimated that the new, $250 million biomass plant will create 150 permanent jobs throughout the supply chain. And locally it will create 400 temporary construction jobs between now and 2013.
That alone promises to hold create economic benefits for local workers and construction companies.
Beyond economics, the expansion of biomass power is a part of a broad movement toward renewable energies and away from fossil fuels, which are polluting and increasingly expensive. Since 2002, Domtar has increased its use of renewable fuels by 12.5 percent.
This move comes with a series of benefits to the environment and to the economy. To the extent that cleaner, renewable and local resources can be used, it makes sense that all sorts of manufacturing companies would want to move in this direction.