Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Walker Killed Biomass Energy; His PSC Now Endorses Biomass Energy

This blog followed the history of the conversion of the fuel source at the Charter Street power plant on the UW-Madison campus from dirty coal to cleaner biomass - - a renewable wood waste fuel tied to Wisconsin's forest products industry, as then Governor Jim Doyle pointed out:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Doyle says dozens of Wisconsin businesses are interested in supplying biomass products to help fuel a University of Wisconsin-Madison power plant.

The governor announced Monday that 59 businesses responded to a state request to gauge interest among the private sector. He says the response shows "this is an enormous economic opportunity" to keep money spent on energy in Wisconsin while helping businesses grow and add jobs.

The Department of Administration says the respondents came from the forest products, agriculture and waste materials industries.

Under the governor's plan, the Charter Street Heating Plant is expected to stop burning coal next year and switch to a mixture of biomass fuel and natural gas.
 This blog also followed the biomass conversion cancelation within hours of Scott Walker's ascension in January 2011.

For Walker, biomass was an unacceptably green reminder that Doyle had indeed been governor, and, as with other vestiges of the Doyle administration - - like collective bargaining, or the Amtrak extension from Milwaukee - - his legacy needed to be scrubbed from the political and physical environment.

So I find this story in today's Journal Sentinel business section astonishing, though the continual dissing of wind power is no surprise:
The state Focus on Energy program will target its renewable energy funding toward biomass and biogas technologies, leaving fewer dollars available for wind energy and solar projects.

The Public Service Commission set a funding level of $10 million a year to provide incentives for renewable energy projects. But most of the 2012 budget has been committed to projects that were awarded incentives last year...

Phil Montgomery, the commission's chairman, said in a statement that placing an emphasis on biomass and biogas is important for the state's agricultural and forest products industries.

"The new mix in the Focus on Energy program recognizes where our state's strengths in renewables are," he said.
A year ago, biomass was bad. Now it's good.

Go figure.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Ahh, but the quote indicates they will be diverting funds from wind and solar projects to do so.

So I think the takeaway is that biomass may be bad, but wind and solar are worser. So if the money must be spent, deny it from the most hippie-ish of the alternatives.


enoughalready said...

Could be the Koch brothers don't like no clean energy alternatives like wind and solar.