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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Biomass plant construction going full steam ahead

From an article by Jake Miller in the Wausau Daily Herald:

ROTHSCHILD -- A $255 million biomass power plant under construction in Rothschild already has put more than 75 people to work full time, providing them with family-sustaining wages, officials said.

The workers -- mostly general laborers, iron workers and carpenters -- have spent recent months pouring concrete and erecting the 11-story steel frame for a building that ultimately will house the plant's boiler, said Randy DeMeuse, vice president of operations for The Boldt Co., the Appleton-based firm overseeing construction.

The plant, a We Energies and Domtar Corp. project, remains on schedule after crews began to build the facility this summer, We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said. The plant at Domtar's Rothschild paper mill will generate steam for the papermaker and electricity for We Energies and is expected to be complete by late summer of 2013.

The state Public Service Commission approved the project this past summer after neighbors of the site waged a fierce battle to block its construction. Opponents cited pollution and visual concerns, while supporters argued the much-needed jobs outweighed those issues.

The number of people working on-site during construction is expected to climb to 250 by summer. If the project hits any delays, that number could grow to 400 because project managers would need to add a second shift of workers, DeMeuse said.

The number of people working on-site during construction is expected to climb to 250 by summer. If the project hits any delays, that number could grow to 400 because project managers would need to add a second shift of workers, DeMeuse said.

"That's just staff on site; it doesn't include truck drivers at all," he said. "Chances are we may peak out higher than (250)."

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