Another Biomass Power Plant Bites the Dust

Coming on the heels of First Energy’s decision not to go forward with converting two of its coal-fired units at its Burger plant to units that run on biomass, yet another biomass power project has been canceled.

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Xcel Energy has canceled its plans to build a biomass power plant on Lake Superior in Ashland. 

The utility reportedly sent a letter to the Wisconsin public utilities commission on Monday informing the commission of its decision to stop the project. The decision came as a result of cost overruns for the project, which the utility had originally said would be $58.1 million but were reportedly going to be closer to $80 million.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the utility believes the research and development that went into the project will be useful going forward.

“The engineering studies will advance gasifier technologies for utility applications and our efforts to procure sustainable biomass supplies have resulted in a model that can be adopted in future projects,” Michael Swenson, CEO and President of NSP-Wisconsin, a unit of Xcel Energy said in a statement.

The utility already has two biomass burners at the Lake Superior plant, known as the Bay Front Power Plant.  Had the project gone forward, it would have been the largest investor-owned utility power plant to be run entirely on biomass. 



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