The new Sutter Energy Center, Yuba City, was dedicated this week by CalpineCorporation. The plant was built with a Project Labor Agreement and wasfinished so far ahead of schedule that Calpine was awarded a bonus of over onemillion dollars by the State of California.
One of the cleanest power plants in the nation, Sutter switched to air coolinginstead of water cooling during construction because of concerns raised byCURE, the California Unions for Reliable Energy. Despite this change, theproject was built ahead of schedule, on budget and with no serious labordisputes.
SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth was one of the speakers at the dedication. Hepraised the union members who made this project possible, and also spoke ofthe improving relationship with Calpine for the construction of power plants inCalifornia.PLAs have been negotiated for six plants with Calpine to date, andtalks are in process for other work.
Balgenorth also reminded Calpine that California's unions contribute over $200million each year for apprenticeship programs. Union sponsored programsaccount for 91% of all construction apprentices in the state. These unionprograms graduate about 85% of all participants, as opposed to a 3% graduationrate for non-union programs.