Cassville Power Plant Expansion Has an Interesting Ally

By: Justin Ware Email
By: Justin Ware Email

For decades, Brett Hulsey has been taking a tough stance against pollution from things like coal-fired power plants.

Now, Hulsey is working with a company that's hoping to build a new coal-fired plant.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," said Hulsey, "because one, it cleans up an old coal power plant that's there now ."

Hulsey supports expanding the coal-fired power plant in Cassville.

Not because of the coal it burns, but because of what else it burns.

"They have a lot more options on burning switch grass," said Hulsey.

Hulsey says the technology Alliant Energy would use in the new plant, would allow them to mix switch grass with coal, for a cleaner-burning power source.

He also says the Cassville expansion would be critical in bringing more wind power to Wisconsin, because the plant would require bigger, more capable infrastructure.

"It's like going from having a string to having a rope," said Hulsey.

Hulsey says improvements to the energy grid would allow Iowa to pump more wind power into the Badger state.

Other environmental groups say more wind is a good thing, but not if it takes more coal to get there.

"Building a coal plant is not the only solution," said Ryan Schryver, Clean Wisconsin spokesman. "In fact, that's an outdated and dirty solution. There are cleaner, more efficient technologies that would do the same."

Clean Wisconsin's Ryan Schryver says the Cassville expansion would actually triple the amount of global-warming pollution that plant currently produces.

"Unfortunately, there is no such thing as clean coal," said Schryver, "and the technology that Alliant is proposing is the dirtiest in terms of global warming pollution."

Schryver says he'd rather see more wind, solar and biomass, than another coal plant.

And so would Hulsey, but he says Cassville's expansion is a step toward those goals.

"In a perfect world, all these coal plants would be cleaned up overnight," said Hulsey, "but this is a major step forward."

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