September 29, 2008
Proposed Cassville Plant Could Burn Biomass
By Barbara Swan Alliant Energy
Alliant Energy is faced with the dual challenge of providing safe, reliable and affordable energy - in a time when demand is rising 2 to 3 percent each year - and protecting the environment. We believe we've struck a balance between the two with the proposed expansion of our Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville, Wis.Environmentally, Alliant Energy takes seriously its
commitment to protecting the environment and reducing the amount of emissions at our generating facilities. Months ago, we announced an aggressive carbon-reduction plan that will more than
offset any carbon emissions from the Cassville project.
Rather than depend solely on traditional fuels like coal, the plant will have the flexibility to also burn 20 percent biomass, such as hay from fields (switchgrass), leftover corn stalks (stover) and waste wood - all harvested locally. This will offset carbon emissions by 524,000 tons per year.
Though coal remains the
most cost-effective way to generate affordable electricity,
Alliant will dramatically increase its commitment to wind energy in Wisconsin. In fact, we'll spend more than $1 billion by the end of
2010 developing new wind farms.
Also part of our proposed Cassville package will be closing our oldest and dirtiest coal plant in Sheboygan, Wis., thereby eliminating more than 710,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.
Finally, we will continue to champion our already-successful energy-efficiency programs, such as Shared Savings. Through this increased focus on reducing energy consumption, the annual anticipated decrease of carbon emissions will be more than 789,000 tons.
Taken together, these steps will reduce carbon emissions by roughly 3.5 million tons per year and, again, more than offset any increases that would occur from the Cassville expansion.
We are encouraged by the tremendous amount of support we have received over the course of the past year. Earlier this month, hundreds of people rallied in Madison to give their backing to our project.
Conservationists, farmers, bio-industry representatives, state business leaders, elected officials, organized labor and some environmentalists all said our project represented the best opportunity to develop a new agriculture-based economy, create
jobs and provide affordable energy to our customers (including Iowa residents).
Burning 20 percent biomass may not sound like a lot, but a recent study (Fortenbery/Deller) found it will require 120,000 acres per year to be planted and harvested, with the project generating nearly $1.3 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits for Wisconsin residents.
Now that's a stimulus package.
Our objectives mirror those outlined by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, his Department of Natural Resources secretary Matt Frank and the
governor's Task Force on Global Warming, a group I
proudly work with. In fact, the Cassville project represents the single
biggest investment in biofuels in the history of
the Badger State. We
believe the time has
arrived to convert rhetoric into reality and biofuels
The bottom line is, at Alliant Energy, we are committed to charting a path to a greener future
and keeping our customers'bills affordable. We recognize the need for a balanced approach to our generation plans that includes innovation, renewable fuels, conservation and cost-effective and efficient use of coal. Join us in supporting change and smart investments in our future.
Swan is president of Alliant Energy's Wisconsin Power & Light Co.
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