The friction caused by the furious hand-wringing over plasma gasification could, in itself, be considered a form of renewable energy.
Alliance Federated Energy LLC wants to build the Project Apollo plant in Milwaukee to burn trash to convert it to electricity. Technically, according to state law, this plasma gasification process is considered a form of renewable energy, at least in terms of meeting the state’s goals for production of such energy.
The pressure is on Alliance to prove it can make good on its projection that the $235 million plant can produce 30 megawatts of electricity. The state opened the door for companies such as Alliance, and no one should blame the firm for making itself at home.
But judging by the reaction of groups such as RENEW Wisconsin and the Waukesha Environmental Action League, the inclusion of garbage-burning plants in the state’s renewable energy portfolio represents an insult to the purity of wind and solar.
But the strength of the protest suggests an ulterior motive. Wind and solar are the king and queen of the renewable energy market, and it only makes sense they would move quickly to put down a challenger to the throne.
We’re talking market share, here, and money trumps purity, even in the world of renewable energy.
But Alliance still has to make it happen. It has to show its plant won’t blanket Milwaukee with a carbon footprint. It has to respond to questions over access to enough trash to make a go of the operation. It has to accelerate the learning curve in a city that would host the first such plant in the country.
To prevent Alliance from even trying to support its case simply would be a waste of energy.
Chris Thompson is the editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 225-1818.