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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Renewable energy companies among those showing interest in closed Domtar mill

From an article by Nathaniel Shuda in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

More than a year after it was shut down, the Domtar paper mill in Port Edwards continues to attract attention from those who want to use the site.

After issuing a reuse strategy in April that details proposed plans for the facility should the Canadian-based papermaker decide to sell it, village officials and local economic development leaders began receiving more inquiries about the property.
"Within the last couple of months, there have been about five (inquiries)," said Melissa Loken, economic development director for the Heart of Wisconsin Business Alliance. "Domtar is drawing more attention than a normal site."

Several of the roughly 30 parties that expressed interest since the mill shut down in June 2007 produce biofuels or other renewable energy products, such as solar panels, Loken said. Although those companies want their identities to remain confidential, several others were made public this week for the first time when south Wood County municipal officials submitted a federal stimulus grant application for a proposed Highway 54 bypass and bridge.

Onalaska-based Mathy Construction Co. has expressed interest in using part of the site for the storage of its petroleum products and possibly biofuels, Port Edwards Village Administrator Joe Terry said.

"The other thing that interested them is the concept of purchasing lower-grade waste heat from any of the neighboring facilities," Terry said.

Innovolis, a local alternative energy producer that, according to its Web site, uses tidal and river currents to generate power, also has expressed interest in using the site, as have University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point researchers, who are investigating the possible development of an $8 million experimental biorefinery.

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