2008/11/11: Alliant Energy’s application for a coal-fired power plant denied - and Madison's coal plant replaced with biomass!


In a surprising defeat for the coal industry, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted to deny Alliant Energy’s application to build a new coal-fired power plant in Cassville, WI. (Thanks to many of you in WNPJ who wrote letters, made calls and rallied at the coal plant!) Also, this week, environmentalists are applauding the Governor's move to push biomass and stop burning coal at the Charter St. Plant. Their statement is below:

Farmers, Conservationists, Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Better Environmental Solutions today praised Governor Doyle's decision to make Charter Street power plant 100% biomass.



"I applaud the Governor for his leadership to clean up power plants and jumpstart the biomass economy. This can really restore good habitat which helps fish and wildlife," said George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Wisconsin leads the nation in biomass energy, which provides 60% of our renewable energy total.

Wisconsin also led the nation in the loss of Conservation Reserve lands over the last two years but state biomass demand could help farmers grow more prairie and woody biomass.

"Planting switchgrass is a great crop for our highly erodible fields," said Jim Schaefer, a Platteville area farmer. "We want create more markets for grass and other biomass crops for energy and fuels."

Southwest Badger RC&D has been working with farmers and researchers on six switchgrass test plots and ways to collect woody biomass to restore native prairie and switchgrass and woodlands.

"The state's demand for biomass will help farmers promote more conservation practices and give us cleaner water and reduced flooding," said Steve Bertjens, NRCS Southwest Badger RC&D coordinator.

Dane County has more than 480,000 tons of biomass coal equivalent from switchgrass, wood and corn waste that could be burned at Charter Street, the Better Enviro analysis showed.

"Thanks to Governor Doyle's leadership, Wisconsin can be the Silicon Valley for biomass," said Brett Hulsey, president of Better Environmental Solutions, an environment and energy consulting firm. "Biomass to energy is one of the most effective ways to reduce air pollution, global warming, provide homes for birds and wildlife, reduce flooding, and cleaner water."

Better Enviro's 2007 report, Cellulose Prairie: Biomass Fuel Potential in Wisconsin and the Midwest, showed that Wisconsin has enough excess biomass to replace half our coal burning, significantly reducing the largest source of greenhouse air pollution.

Ryan Schryver of Clean Wisconsin writes: "Thank you to everyone in the community who helped defeat this coal plant.  The public opposition was overwhelming and many folks on these email lists deserve a big thank you.  All of the Commissioners highlighted the overwhelming public opposition, with Commissioner Meyer making a special note to highlight the public record opposing the plant. Today we can all breathe a little bit easier."


WKOW TV Madison

Feb 6, 2009



Citizens Utility Board           Clean Wisconsin

Fighting the Utilities, Saving you Money                                           Your Environmental Voice Since 1970


For Immediate Release:  November 11, 2008


Contact:                                                                                            Contact:

Charlie Higley, Citizens Utility Board                                                  Katie Nekola, Clean Wisconsin

office: 608-251-3322 x. 14                                                               office: 608-251-7020 x. 14

cell: 608-843-6996                                                                           cell: 608-212-8751


Coal Plant Proposal Rejected for First Time in Wisconsin History

Historic Decision will Save Ratepayers Money and Reduce Pollution


Madison, Wis –  Wisconsin regulators rejected a proposal to build a conventional coal plant for the first time in state history today when the Public Service Commission voted unanimously to reject Alliant Energy’s highly controversial $1.26 billion coal plant on the shores of the Mississippi River in Cassville, Wisconsin.


“Today’s historic decision will help move our state toward a strong clean energy economy,” said Katie Nekola, energy program director and attorney at Clean Wisconsin an environmental organization that fought Alliant’s application to construct the coal plant since it was first filed before the Public Service Commission in February 2007.  “Stopping dirty coal plants is critical to reducing global warming pollution and creating jobs by paving the way for alternatives like wind, solar, and smart biomass technology,” she said.   


The rejection of Alliant’s coal plant highlights the changing atmosphere of energy policy in Wisconsin.  The project faced unprecedented opposition; the public by a 10-1 margin, the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, the Wisconsin Paper Council, and RENEW Wisconsin, all joined Clean Wisconsin and Citizens Utility Board (CUB) in opposing the construction of the coal plant.


“Building coal plants has never made sense from an environmental perspective, and no longer makes sense from an economic perspective,” said Charlie Higley, executive director of CUB.  “When cleaner alternatives would save ratepayers $800 million, the perception that dirty coal is cheap is nothing but hot air.”


Shifting away from coal and moving toward renewable energy sources and energy efficiency will help promote growth in Wisconsin’s economy.  A recent national report demonstrated that Wisconsin could create 37,000 family-supporting jobs in the coming years by investing in clean energy technologies like wind, solar, biofuel and geothermal power as well as energy efficiency. 


“The Commission’s leadership in rejecting Alliant’s dirty coal plant protects Wisconsin’s ratepayers and environment,” said Nekola.  “Clean energy production will drive America’s economy in the coming years, and this victory will position Wisconsin to become a leader in the clean energy economy.”    




The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service. CUB represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before regulatory agencies and the courts.


Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and corporations accountable.  Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses.





Ryan Schryver

Grassroots Organizer

Clean Wisconsin

122 State St. Suite 200

Madison, WI 53703

1-608-251-7020 ext. 25

1-262-949-6436 (cell)