Wood Energy: The New Renewable?

Includes: UFS, WEC

Wood is one of the first known sources of heat and energy. We seem to have come back a full circle to where it all started from. The company that takes us back to this primitive fuel, albeit with modern technology is We Energies, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC).

We Energies, a $3B+ revenue utilities company serving the needs of 1.1 million electric and 1 million gas customers in Wisconsin announced the proposed construction of a $250 million biomass-fueled power plant at Domtar Corporation's Rothschild, Wisconsin paper mill site.

Wood, waste wood and sawdust will be used to produce 50 megawatts of electricity and will also support Domtar's sustainable papermaking operations. The project would be funded by We Energies.

The following table shows the capacity of WEC with renewable energy share at ~2%. Total energy supplied from renewable sources has to rise to 10% by 2015.

Dependable Capability in MW
2008 2007 2006
Coal 3,247 3,247 3,334
Nuclear - - 1,036
Natural Gas - Combined Cycle 1,090 545 545
Natural Gas/Oil - Peaking Units 1,143 1,162 1,180
Renewables 113 84 84
Total 5,593 5,038 6,179

Source: Company filings

The current renewable capacity consists of 88M of hydropower and 145 MW of wind power capacity. The dependable capacity of its wind farm is 29MW. Dependable capability is the net power output under average operating conditions with equipment in an average state of repair as of a given month in a given year. We are a summer peaking electric utility. The values were established by test and may change slightly from year to year.

The company is also setting up a 132MW to 207 MW wind mill capacity at Glacier Hills Wind Park, Wisconsin. This is expected to be operational in 2012. The new wiid energy capacity and 50 MW plant will go towards meeting the regulatory requirement by 2015.

Disclosures: No Holdings in WEC, UFS