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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Biomass plan revised after regulators object to cost

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Domtar Corp. agreed to boost its financial stake in a proposed biomass power plant, as We Energies and the paper company revised the terms of their deal Tuesday to satisfy regulators' concerns.

The three-member state Public Service Commission last week raised objections about the cost of the $255 million biomass power plant that We Energies is seeking to build at the Domtar paper mill in Rothschild, just south of Wausau. The plant would burn wood chips and other forms of biomass to produce electricity for the energy grid and steam for the adjacent paper mill.

The PSC, however, said the plant's price tag was too expensive and was structured in such a way that too much of the cost would be borne by customers of the Milwaukee-based utility. Commissioners directed Domtar and We Energies to revise their proposal.

The filing by the companies Tuesday will be reviewed by the plant's critics, including the Wisconsin Citizens' Utility Board. The groups raising concerns about the project have until Thursday to respond to the revised financing plan.

Domtar on Tuesday said it would boost its contribution by $22 million, to $47 million, a move that increases the price of the steam Domtar would buy for the paper mill and reduce the cost for We Energies customers.

Both companies stressed the economic development opportunity from the project, linked to construction and paper mill jobs.

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