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Xcel promotes its French Island incinerator plant at county board meeting



For more than 30 years, Xcel Energy has been burning garbage at a French Island plant to generate electricity.

After an annual report from two Xcel representatives Monday night to the La Crosse County board, the plan is to continue burning for at least 12 more years.

Xcel environmental analyst Tina Ball said the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant on French Island is the most heavily-regulated, garbage-burning plant in the U.S. It has all the pollution controls it needs.

The plant burns about 73,000 tons of garbage a year, collected throughout the area.

The garbage is burned, along with trees and scrap wood, to provide about 20 percent of the power for the La Crosse area.

Tina Ball said the incinerator has helped the county avoid opening new landfill space.

More than 70,000 tons of trash goes to the plant every year.

Xcel was also promoting a new solar garden program with one community solar power facility to be built near Cashton, Wis., later this year.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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