We Energies and Domtar have commenced commercial operations of a $250m, 50MW biomass-fueled power plant on the latter’s Rothschild, Wisconsin paper mill after successfully completing testing and commissioning activities.
Funded by We Energies, the plant will use wood, waste wood and sawdust as fuel to generate electricity, and it will provide process steam to support Domtar’s sustainable papermaking operations.
CTS Engtec had provided preliminary and detailed engineering of the boiler house pipework (boiler external piping, non-boiler external piping and duct piping) as well as preliminary engineering of the ductwork, while Metso supplied the biomass boiler featuring circulating fluidised bed technology for the plant.
The new facility will reduce the overall emissions from the mill site by around 30% and helps Domtar become efficient in its paper-making process, making it more viable for future operations, We Energies claims.
The plant adds the biomass technology to We Energies’ renewable energy portfolio, which includes the state’s two wind projects, 145MW Blue Sky Green Field Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac County and the 162MW Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia county.
Together, these projects will deliver around 360MW of renewable energy, which is enough to power approximately 120,000 homes.
We Energies chairman, president and CEO Gale Klappa said the addition of the new plant allows the company to generate renewable energy on demand.
"These renewable energy projects – fueled by Wisconsin resources – were developed largely through the talents of Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin labor," Klappa said.
The new plant will help We Energies meet Wisconsin law that requires utilities to secure 10% of their power from renewable energy resources by 2015.
Earlier in 2008, We Energies approached the Wisconsin Paper Council seeking a partner for the construction of a potential biomass-fueled cogeneration facility and had identified Domtar and the Rothschild mill as the suitable partner and location respectively.
The project has created around 400 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs in the surrounding community, including independent wood suppliers and haulers from northern and central Wisconsin.
Image: New biomass boiler to Wisconsin, North America. Photo: courtesy of CTS Engtec.