Immediate release
November 11, 2008

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.332.1736 (cell)
608.819.0748 (office)

RENEW’s reaction to decision on Cassville plant

“In our eyes, Nelson Dewey 3 did not meet our criteria of a renewable energy facility,” said RENEW Executive Director Michael Vickerman. “The biomass component functioned as a sideshow to obscure the central premise of this plant, which is to burn nonrenewable Wyoming coal in a Wisconsin location. The truth is, there are far easier, more sustainable and less expensive ways to generate new sources of renewable energy in southwestern Wisconsin.”

“Approval of this plant, with its 80-20 coal-to-biomass fuel ratio, would actually make Governor Doyle’s goal of securing, by 2025, 25% of the energy from renewable energy resources a more difficult goal to attain,” Vickerman said. “We applaud the Commission for recognizing the incompatibility of Nelson Dewey 3 with the Administration’s environmental and economic development agenda.”

“Nelson Dewey 3 is an example of combining a 19th century fuel with 20th century combustion technology to tackle a 21st century problem,” Vickerman said. “We agree with the PSC that it clearly has no place in our future.”

Vickerman contrasted Alliant’s proposal with Xcel Energy’s recently announced proposal to convert Bay Front Power Plant in Ashland into a 100% biomass-fueled generating unit when completed. The proposal involves retrofitting an existing coal-fired unit with gasification technology to turn wood fuel and other biomass energy sources into a renewable gas, which will be fed into a new boiler.

“Unlike Nelson Dewey 3, what Xcel proposes to do would actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Wisconsin sources, not add to them,” Vickerman said. “Xcel’s initiative would actually reduce the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, not increase it.”

“The fact is, biomass energy generation can stand on its own two feet in the 21st century. Wisconsin doesn’t need a new coal plant just to make biomass a viable fuel. In fact, the state doesn’t need a coal plant, period,” 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. More information on RENEW’s Web site at