Adage signs Community Workforce Agreement in Washington

By Lisa Gibson | November 22, 2010

The recent signing of a Community Workforce Agreement ensures that jobs created during construction of Adage’s 55-megawatt biomass power plant in Shelton, Wash., will be filled by local workers.

The agreement, with Olympia Vicinity Building and Construction Trades Council, covers site preparation, electrical installation of the power block, and construction of the biomass boiler, steam turbine and balance-of-plant mechanical equipment, according to Tom DePonty, director of public affairs for Adage, a joint venture between Areva and Duke Energy. “Adage’s goal is to tap into the local skilled labor forces around our projects,” he said. “This agreement ensures we will capitalize on the local construction expertise in the Mason County area and employ members of the local community. We strive for use of local labor, but I think this makes that goal a reality in Mason County.”

The Mason County project is expected to create more than 400 jobs during construction and more than 100 during permanent operation. The Olympia Vicinity Building and Construction Trades Council represents 15 different trade unions and roughly 1,500 union members in western Washington’s Mason County. 

Adage secured a feedstock supply agreement with Green Diamond Resource Co., a private forest landowner, in early October, but declined to release the amount of woody biomass the agreement specifies, saying only that it will account for between 15 and 20 percent of the Mason County project’s required supply. The agreement allows Adage to remove harvest residues under the supervision of Green Diamond.

The plant represents a $250 million investment in Mason County and the Community Workforce Agreement could help curb local opposition. “We have encountered local concerns or opposition in Shelton, but I think this agreement makes the local economic benefits of the project more tangible for the community,” DePonty said.

Adage expects to begin construction on the plant in early 2011.