Environmentalists are happy with a Public Service Commission decision on a coal fired power plant. But utility Alliant Energy , not so much. Rob Crane is a spokesman for Alliant, which put months of effort — and some advertising dollars — into the Cassville proposal. Understandably, they're disappointed. "Not just for ourselves, but disappointed for the wide range of supporters that e were behind the project, not the least of which were the people of Cassville and Grant County," said Crane.
Environmentalists like Clean Wisconsin 's Katie Nekola spent months opposing the project, and they're not disappointed. "This is a great decision for alternative sources of energy, and for biofuels" Nekola said. "It recognizes that the best use of biofuels is not in conjunction with coal. It's really turning towards a cleaner and more sustainable use of biofuels, which we absolutely support." Jennifer Feyerherm is director of the Sierra Club's Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign . "We need to be looking forward to a carbon constrained world," she said. "Not only Alliant Energy, but all of our utilities, need to take that seriously, and be coming up with serious options that will reduce our global warming pollution."
Public Service Commissioners said the coal plant would have been too expensive for ratepayers, and that Alliant's proposal to burn biofuels at Cassville didn't make it clean enough. They suggest the utility buy more power, or build a natural gas fired plant. "They feel that natural gas, is some of these instances, is a better scenario for our customers," said Alliant's Crane. "What that means for the long haul . . . we don't know. The one thing that this record showed is that a need still exists for base load power."
Cassville Village President Louis Okey says a lot of bad publicity for coal-fired plants really hurt the project. "Global warming is a hot button item, and coal emissions are right in the forefront," he noted.