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PSC okays $225m biomass plant

In the US We Energies and paper company Domtar are developing a $225 million (€156 million) biomass plant in Rothschild.

The companies can now progress with the next stages of development after the state Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the plans.

Despite receiving a unanimous vote from the panel, consisting of three members, We Energies and Domtar are to raise an additional $10 million in order to drive down the cost of electricity for those who will purchase it from the plant.

Domtar has already informed the PSC that it is to increase its funding from $25 million to $47 million. This will amplify the amount the company will pay for steam produced at the site.

Domtar and We Energies representatives will now examine the PSC's proposal before making a final decision on the future of the project.

Upon completion, the $225 million production plant will generate 50MW of electricity from waste wood and sawdust, in addition to steam for Domtar's papermaking operations.

Despite the state's plentiful energy supply, We Energies is building this biomass plant in order to meet the state's mandate, which requires 10% of its total energy to come from renewable sources by 2015.