We Energies biomass plant begins commercial operation

50-MW facility at Domtar Rothschild mill produces renewable energy from woody biomass

PR Newswire

ROTHSCHILD, Wis., Nov. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- We Energies announced today that the biomass-fueled power plant on the site of Domtar Corporation's Rothschild, Wis., paper mill was placed into commercial operation Friday, Nov. 8, after testing and commissioning activities were successfully completed.

Wood, waste wood and sawdust are being used to produce up to 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity; steam provided by the plant is also supporting Domtar's sustainable papermaking operations.

This new biomass plant adds another technology to the renewable energy portfolio operated by We Energies.

"The addition of the biomass plant enables us to produce renewable energy on demand," said Gale Klappa, We Energies chairman, president and chief executive officer. "That benefit is simply not available with solar or wind generation."

The company's renewable energy portfolio includes the state's two largest wind developments -- the 145-MW Blue Sky Green Field Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac County and the 162-MW Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County. Together, these three projects are capable of delivering nearly 360 MW of renewable energy, enough to supply approximately 120,000 homes.

"These renewable energy projects -- fueled by Wisconsin resources -- were developed largely through the talents of Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin labor," added Klappa.

More than 400 workers contributed to the construction of the biomass plant, which also will support approximately 150 permanent jobs in the region, including independent wood suppliers and haulers from northern and central Wisconsin who will secure waste wood for the project.

Under Wisconsin law, utilities statewide must use renewable energy to meet 10 percent of the electricity needs of their retail customers by the year 2015. With the commercial operation of the Rothschild biomass plant, We Energies estimates that it now has secured enough renewable energy to remain in compliance with the state mandate through 2022.

In addition, Domtar's use of the steam produced by the plant will help improve the paper mill's energy efficiency and reduce overall emissions at the site by more than 30 percent.

About We Energies
We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Gas LLC, the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (WEC). Visit We Energies at we-energies.com and Wisconsin Energy at wisconsinenergy.com.

About Domtar 
Domtar Corporation (UFS) (UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and absorbent hygiene products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a broad line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name as well as baby diapers. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,500 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

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