For the latest updates on UW–Madison plans and responses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

Please note visitors are not allowed in UW facilities and employees are working remotely.

WBI will assist in redesign of Charter St. heating plant

A major redesign of the Charter Street Heating Plant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be a showcase project for Governor Jim Doyle’s commitment to use more renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal. The Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative is assisting with the planning necessary to purchase the biomass as a fuel source for part of the heat generated at the new heating plant.

The $250 million retrofit project will transform campus energy production and distribution by using a combination of biomass and natural gas to power the plant, which heats and cools some 300 buildings in the area.

The WBI will join stakeholders from UW-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence to participate in a collaborative biomass work group.  The team has been charged with reviewing design documents and specifications to ensure that they accommodate the use of multiple biomass feedstocks  combined with natural gas.  The work group has also begun to identify potential biomass sites and sources, and will determine possible regional aggregation sites for the plant, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.

“This is an important first step in aligning both supply and demand of the new biomass-to-energy value chain in Wisconsin,” says Runge.  “Our work on this project can serve as a benchmark for future biomass projects throughout the state.”

A public meeting on the project will be scheduled in early 2010.