October 30, 2009

Michael Vickerman
RENEW Wisconsin

Madison, WI (October 30, 2009) RENEW Wisconsin today hailed the decision by the Public Service Commission to approve a utility’s plan to repower an aging northern Wisconsin coal-fired plant with locally available wood fuel.

The approval allows Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin (NSPW), a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, to install the state’s first biomass gasifier. The system will produce synthetic gas from a variety of wood sources to produce electricity at the company’s Bay Front Power Plant in Ashland, Wisconsin.

“This project will yield multiple dividends to the utility’s ratepayers and the local economy in and around Ashland,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide advocacy group for renewable energy.

“Capital projects are few and far between in northern Wisconsin. Rather than closing down an inefficient plant that relies on imported fossil fuel, NSPW is extending its life and improving its environmental performance with this switch to a sustainable energy source,” Vickerman said.

“This proposal is an excellent resource fit for this part of the state. The money spent to acquire wood fuel will remain in the local area, instead of being exported to western coal states,” Vickerman said.
RENEW Wisconsin ( is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance a sustainable energy future through public policy and private sector initiatives.