Work is underway on a biomass power plant at UW Madison. Governor Jim Doyle says the $251 million project to convert the Charter Street Plant on the UW Madison campus from burning coal to burning biomass can help lessen the state’s dependence on imported fuels. “This is in our state’s interest,” the governor said during a ceremony Monday marking the start of the project. “Sixteen billion dollars a year (for fuel, mostly coal) leaves our state. If we just kept 25 percent of that ‘spend’ here in Wisconsin, it’s $4 billion additional a year that is going to create jobs here in this state.”
“I’m amazed to see that there are people actually arguing that somehow the United States and the state of Wisconsin should back away from a comittment to green power,” said Doyle. “This project becomes part of our larger campus effort, a larger initiative that focuses on environment and sustainablity, and combines not only research and education but also on the ground practice,” said UW Chancellor Biddy Martin. The plant’s coal boilers will initially be replaced by natural gas and biomass, and then run completely on biomass by late 2013, burning wood chips, corn stalks and switch grass pellets.