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Milwaukee-based utility We Energies has announced that the biomass-fueled power plant on the site of Domtar Corp.'s Rothschild, Wis., paper mill has reached commercial operation after testing and commissioning activities were successfully completed.

According to We Energies, wood, waste wood and sawdust are being used to produce up to 50 MW of electricity, while steam provided by the plant is supporting Domtar's sustainable papermaking operations.

"The addition of the biomass plant enables us to produce renewable energy on demand," says Gale Klappa, We Energies chairman, president and CEO. "That benefit is simply not available with solar or wind generation."

We Energies notes that under Wisconsin law, utilities statewide must use renewable energy to meet 10% of the electricity needs of their retail customers by 2015. With the commercial operation of the Rothschild biomass plant, We Energies estimates that it now has secured enough renewable energy to remain in compliance with the state mandate through 2022.

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