The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, September 09, 2011


By The Building Tradesman

Wolverine Power ‘hopeful’ for plant

At a meeting in Rogers City Aug. 29, officials with Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative assured city officials and others that it is currently proceeding with its proposed $1 billion coal fired power plant, to be located in the city.

The utility is shortly to commence the engineering to prepare bid documents for the project, a process expected to take from six to nine months. Ken Bradstreet, a Wolverine spokesman, said “vital cost information” is to be collected that will enable the company to make “an intelligent decision.”

On June 29 the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the final air quality permit for the 540-megawatt facility. Serving as the project design engineer on the project has been Burns and Roe, Oradel, New Jersey. Also involved in engineering and procurement has been Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc., Grand Rapids.

Wolverine CEO Eric Baker said the earliest ground could be broken for the plant under current schedules would be sometime in the fall of 2012. He said the utility is “hopeful” the plant can be built. Federal regulations are expected to result in the closure of several old coal-fired plants around Michigan and that the Rogers City plant could provide as much as 25 percent of their output.

(From Michigan Construction


Construction fatals trending downward

The number of construction fatalities declined by nearly 10 percent between 2009 and 2010 and by almost 40 percent during the past five years, according to an analysis of new federal data released Aug. 25 by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials pointed to an industry-wide commitment to improving workplace safety as a key reason for the safety improvements.

“This industry has made safety a top priority in good times and bad, and the new data shows those efforts are helping save lives,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But even one fatality is too many, which is why this data also serves as a somber reminder of the work that still needs to be done.”

Sandherr noted that the number of construction fatalities in 2010 was 751, down from 834 in 2009 and 1,239 in 2006. He added that the number of construction fatalities was declining faster than the total amount of money invested in construction projects during the past five years. While construction spending declined by 31 percent between 2006 and 2010, the number of fatalities declined by nearly 40 percent.

Michigan is part of that trend, experiencing 11 construction fatalities in 2010. That’s one more than in 2009, which was the historic low point for building trades fatalities since MIOSHA came into existence in 1974.

The construction industry has taken a range of steps to improve workplace safety during the past two decades, Sandherr said. He said that safety planning is now considered an essential part of all pre-construction plans. Construction workers also undergo rigorous and ongoing safety training both at construction sites and within company training rooms. Many firms also now regularly participate in association-led safety stand-downs, stopping all construction activity during a particular day to hold intense safety training and drills.