Release Date: March 1, 2010

The Boldt Co. to build We Energies' new 50-megawatt biomass plant

The Post-Crescent

APPLETON - The Boldt Co. on Tuesday announced it will provide all construction services for We Energies' new 50-megawatt biomass cogeneration plant at the Domtar Corp. paper mill in Rothschild near Wausau. The total project cost was pegged at $255 million.

"We're excited about that," said Bob DeKoch, Boldt president and chief operating officer. "We Energies is a great customer of ours and has been for a long time."

We Energies, the Milwaukee-based provider of electricity and natural gas to more than 1 million customers, said the project will create about 400 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs in the central Wisconsin region. They latter group will include independent wood suppliers and haulers who will secure waste wood from a 75-mile radius for fuel. DeKoch said the company will hire some new field craftsmen. The company believes the current project management staff and engineering staff are sufficient to handle the job.

"We plan the work with all our customers and particularly our repeat customers so we make sure we have capacity available for them," said DeKoch. "We've worked with We Energies for over 25 years on different projects around the state."

The most recent was the 145-megawatt Blue Sky Green Field Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac County.

"We Energies filed a petition March 15 to seek approval from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for the Domtar plant," said We spokeswoman Irissol Arce. "Construction will begin next spring if the PSC gives the green light by the end of the year," she said.

"On that timetable, the plant would be complete in the first half of 2013," We Energies said.

The facility is designed to use forest residue, clean wood waste and wood shavings to generate electricity and steam in sufficient amounts to assist Domtar's papermaking operations and wean the Montreal-based firm off fossil fuels. Under state law, utilities must use renewable energy to meet 10 percent of the electricity needs of retail customers by 2015.