State will give nonprofits $213,000 for utility hearing

Posted on March 8, 2008. Filed under: Coal, Generation Plants |

An article by Guy Boulton from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The state Public Service Commission will give $213,000 to three groups to fund their participation in hearings on Alliant Energy’s proposal to build a coal-fired power plant in Cassville.Buy a link hereThe hearings on the proposed 300-megawatt plant could include the most extensive environmental analysis of any coal-fired power plant to date because of concern about global warming, said Timothy Le Monds, a spokesman for the PSC.Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.The PSC awarded $102,000 to the Citizens Utility Board, $101,000 to Clean Wisconsin and $10,000 to Renew Wisconsin.

The Citizens Utility Board represents the interests of residential, farm and small-business customers in cases before the PSC. Clean Wisconsin is a statewide environmental group. Renew Wisconsin is a statewide group that promotes renewable energy.

The money will be used to cover such costs as hiring consultants for the economic and environmental analysis of Alliant’s proposal. The commission expects to hold its hearings next year.

The PSC budgets $750,000 per year to assist groups and individuals seeking to intervene in cases. The commission is funded through a fee on utilities that, in turn, can be passed on to customers.

Alliant Energy, based in Madison, estimates that the plant will cost $855 million to $875 million. It has proposed two sites but wants to build the plant in Cassville, in southwestern Wisconsin.

Two coal-fired power plants built in the 1960s, each with a capacity of 100 megawatts, currently operate in Cassville, Le Mond said.

The plant would not be completed until 2013 if approved.

Michael Vickerman, executive director of Renew Wisconsin, said the group plans to argue that Alliant has more cost-effective alternatives to building the plant.


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