Gov. Doyle: Breaks ground on Charter Street Biomass Project

Contact: Laura Smith, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today broke ground on the Charter Street Biomass Heating Plant project. The $251 million project is one of the largest biomass projects in the nation and will create construction and clean energy jobs. The project follows Governor Doyle’s 2008 announcement that Wisconsin would stop burning coal at state-owned heating plants on Madison’s Isthmus.

“In 2008, I announced plans to stop burning coal at state-owned heating plants on Madison’s Isthmus,” Governor Doyle said. “Today, we are breaking ground on the Charter Street biomass plant and taking a major step forward to make this goal a reality. The Charter Street plant will turn a waste stream into clean energy, it will keep energy dollars in our communities, and it will help clean our air and water. This project will create great jobs in Wisconsin and will develop a new biomass market from our great fields and farms.”

The Governor’s 2009-2011 capital budget included $251 million for the Charter Street project and $25 million to convert the Capitol Heat and Power Plant to natural gas. The Charter Street plant will support local biomass providers and eliminate over 108,000 tons of coal burned every year. In March, the state stopped burning coal at the Capitol Heat and Power Plant – eliminating 4,500 tons of coal burned by the state each year. When the Charter Street project is completed in 2013, the Doyle Administration will have reduced State of Wisconsin coal use by 65 percent.

The Charter Street project is a joint effort between AMEC and Boldt Construction. The plant’s coal boilers will first be replaced by natural gas and biomass fuel. The plant will run completely on biomass by late 2013, with the capacity to burn wood chips, corn stalks and switch grass pellets and power 300 local buildings.

Governor Doyle was joined by representatives of Boldt Construction, AMEC, UW Chancellor Biddy Martin and DOA Secretary Daniel Schooff for today’s groundbreaking. The Governor thanked them for working together to move the project forward.

“Boldt and AMEC have teamed to help deliver this world-class facility to the Madison area. Together, we are proud to be a part of one of the largest biomass projects in the nation, and are excited about the environmental and economic benefits this will have on our state,” Tom Boldt, CEO of The Boldt Company said.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has advanced an aggressive agenda to position Wisconsin as a leader in growing a clean energy economy. Wisconsin has adopted renewable portfolio standards, invested in green job creation, led the advancement of research in cellulosic ethanol and biomass, and made great strides to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and government buildings.

Governor Doyle has also championed clean energy projects including the Dane County “Cow Power” project. In August, the Governor and County Executive Falk broke ground on the $12 million community digester project that will help clean Dane County air and lakes, and generate enough clean energy to power 2,500 homes.