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Legislature looks to modify statutes for closed power plants
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After two weeks of working to come up with a solution for the impending loss of revenue for the Village of Cassville due to the impending closure of both its power plants, the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection will be hosting a special session on a bill looking to help.

Senate Bill 252 is sponsored by state senators Frank Lasee and Howard Marklein; cosponsored by state representatives Joel Kitchens and Travis Tranel.

What the bill is designed to do is clean up language in state statutes dealing with power plants which are being closed. Under current statute, those plants that are being closed see the amount of utility revenue paid to them reduced over a five-year period. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue, which inteerprets the statute, believes this wording only deals with decommissioned nuclear and wind power facilities, not coal and biomass plants like the two in Cassville.

In wording added to the statute, the Department of Revenue believes it would now include coal and biomass plants.

Wording is also in the bill to deal with conflicts as they relate to the Kewaunee nuclear facility, which is in the process of being decommissioned.

Marklein and Tranel represent Cassville and Grant County, while Lasee and Kitchens represent Kewaunee County and the Town of Carlton, where the nuclear facility.

If passed, it would be another move in September that would at least soften the impact the closure of the two plants would have.

In 2012, Alliant Energy announced it was planning to close the Nelson Dewey Power Station by the end of 2015. Alliant has been active on finding interested businesses in redeveloping the site, with one rumored idea an intermodal hub which would allow moving products between barge, rail, and truck.

Last week, the village and Grant County, which also receives utility revenue for hosting the two plants in the county, was told that for 2016, payments for the Nelson Dewey facility would continue into 2016, unlike previously thought.

Earlier this summer, DTE Energy announced they would be closing the Stoneman Power Station sometime this fall when the collected material was used. The Stoneman plant was originally a coal-fired plant built by Dairyland Power, but was converted to burning wood waste in 2009.

Department of Revenue informed the village and the county payments would cease for the Stoneman site, however. The reason for the difference was the two plants were classified differently, and the Nelson Dewey plant payments, which uses a ratepayer system, had already been allocated.