- Contractors chosen for conversion of UW coal plant
- Wind farm towers take local turn: Manitowoc firm will build 90 steel structures for We Energies Columbia County project
- Wind farm construction to start soon | Up to 90 turbines planned for project
- Citizen soldiers say 'thanks' to Fox Cities employers who allow them to serve Department of Defense presents Patriot Awards to businesses
- Top Projects Events Shows Off Best of the Best
- Land gift from The Boldt Co. means new entry for Appleton Art Center
- Lawrence University's Warch Campus Center gains Wisconsin Builder Magazine Construction Award
- The Boldt Co. to build We Energies' new 50-megawatt biomass cogeneration plant at Domtar Corp. paper mill in Rothschild: Appleton firm extends green
- Boldt Construction gearing up For Earth Hour
- The Boldt Co. to build We Energies' new 50-megawatt biomass plant
- Lawrence University professor Janet Anthony, students will travel from Appleton to Haiti to deliver relief supplies
- Meet Inc. Innovator Juanita Frankfurth
- New North Inc. capitalizes on emerging alternative energy industry in Northeastern Wisconsin
- Wisconsin firms to start work on We Energies wind farm
Release Date: October 26, 2010
University of Wisconsin breaks ground on $250M upgrade to heating plant
Wisconsin State Journal
Marking the beginning of the end for coal power on the UW-Madison campus, Gov. Jim Doyle and other leaders broke ground Monday on a $250 million upgrade to the Charter Street Heating plant.
The mostly coal-powered plant, which provides heating and cooling for UW-Madison, will be converted to run on natural gas and farm-grown fuels, known as biomass.
It's the most expensive single project in UW-Madison history. Doyle said that when it is completed in 2013, it will be one of the country's leading biomass power plants.
"This will be one of the largest biomass power plants in the world," he said. "It will be powering our campus, city and state with wood chips, corn stalks, switch grass pellets and who knows what other great fuels ... that will be developed in the coming years."
Monday's groundbreaking followed years of planning, stemming in part from a 2007 court order requiring the state to cut coal use at the plant by 15 percent.
A federal judge found that UW-Madison and the Department of Administration violated the federal Clean Air Act by not installing modern pollution controls at the plant.
Doyle vowed in 2008 to stop burning coal at state-owned heating plants on Madison's Isthmus. The Capitol Heat and Power Plant in Downtown Madison phased out coal and started converting to natural gas in March.
The Charter Street project will be tricky because the plant will continue to provide heating and cooling to campus while construction is underway, said Jeff Niesen, vice president of construction management at Boldt. The Appleton-based Boldt Company and AMEC, a London-based company with an Atlanta office, will provide engineering, procurement and construction for the project.
The plant's coal-burning boilers will be replaced with two new boilers that run on natural gas/fuel oil and the biomass boiler, which can also burn natural gas. One existing natural gas boiler will remain in place.
The changes will eliminate the use of more than 100,000 tons of coal each year. Plant efficiency is expected to be improved by 5 to 10 percent.
Doyle said the project will create jobs and keep money in the state, which previously funneled out to purchase coal, natural gas, and petroleum.
"We do have tremendous energy resources," he said. "They are in our forests. They are in our fields. They are in the wind that blows across the state -- the sun that shines on Wisconsin. They are particularly in the ingenuity and research in our great universities."
John Harrod, director of the UW-Madison physical plant, said the new gas boilers will be on-line by next fall while the biomass boiler will be in place by winter of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.
That means the Charter Street plant's coal pile will be gone by a year from now.