For nearly four years, the Charter Street Heating Plant (CSHP) has been the stage for a rollercoaster of environmental and budgetary battles. Below are some key milestones in the development of energy policy in Wisconsin and their impact on the CSHP.
The new Walker administration cancels plans to construct the biomass boiler at the CSHP. The administration tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that they estimate a savings of 75 to 80 million dollars as a result. Critics note that the biomass boiler would have stimulated a biofuel industry and ensured more energy dollars remained in the local economy. The CSHP continues with plans to replace coal-powered boilers with boilers that use natural gas.
Appleton, Wis.-based Boldt Co. and international engineering consulting firm AMEC plc announce in separate press releases that they have been awarded the contract to convert the CSHP from a coal- to a biomass-burning facility. Boldt anticipates the contract, valued at $255 million, will be completed by 2013.
Governor Doyle releases the final plan for upgrading the plants 38- to 50-year-old boilers to use only natural gas, oil and biomass. The plan also calls for an on-site biomass research labs and upgrades to control system to improve efficiency. http://www.news.wisc.edu/16755
Governor Jim Doyle announces in a press release that coal would not be a part of the future for state heating plants in Madison, including the CSHP. This announcement came after feasibility studies done by the Department of Administration and the University of Wisconsin. This feasibility studies were done as a part of a settlement following the Sierra Club decision. http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/journal_media_detail.asp?locid=19&prid=3566
U.S. District Court Judge rules in favor of the Sierra Club, stating that the CHSP is operating illegally after failing to install pollution controls on their coal-based boilers between 1999 and 2004. UW-Madison’s Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Management Alan Fish told the Wisconsin State Journal that the ruling spurred plans already under way to reduce the use of coal at the plant. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/article_a82a6bda-e978-5a52-b930-fe7b7db74ac0.html
Governor Doyle signs Executive Order 192, establishing the Office of Energy Independence whose goals include, among others, generating 25 percent of power through renewable resources and capturing 10 percent of the emerging bio-industry and renewable energy market. Governor Doyle says that Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to be leader in biomass fuel production. http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/journal_media_detail.asp?locid=19&prid=2611