BARNSTABLE – Cape Wind announced today that it has signed a contract with Weeks/Manson, a joint venture to serve as the lead construction contractor on the project to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound.
The Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO, will provide workers to the contractor.
The joint venture is a partnership between two of the leading marine construction firms in the U.S., Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey, and Manson Construction Co. of Seattle, Washington.
Workers for the companies will install the offshore wind turbines with a fleet of vessels including the R.D. MacDonald, the first special purpose offshore wind installation vessel built in the United States.
Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said, “This project will combine the best of American maritime suppliers, engineers and constructors with the most experienced European technology providers to ensure America’s first offshore wind farm performs to world class standards.”
Gordon continued, “Achieving this objective will help catalyze a new industry that will deliver an inexhaustible clean energy resource and thousands of new jobs for our region and country.”
Rick Palmer, a Vice President of Weeks Marine said, “We are excited to build Cape Wind and help launch the U.S. offshore wind industry.” Palmer added, “We have been pursuing this new market for over 10 years and we admire the perseverance of the Cape Wind team.”
The union also weighed in on the announcement. “This announcement is another big step forward for Cape Wind and our members are looking forward to getting to work on constructing this important project,” said Gerard Dhooge, President, Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO.
The vessel R.D. MacDonald will be a big part of the construction process, according to project officials.
In January, 2011, Weeks Marine began plans to build the ship, America’s first special purpose offshore wind turbine installation vessel.
“Weeks Marine was committed to the emergence of the U.S. offshore wind industry and confident enough to make the significant investment required to build an installation vessel,” said Palmer. “The R.D. MacDonald is an important early link in the domestic supply chain to service the U.S. offshore wind industry and Cape Wind will be putting this vessel to work for the first time”, Palmer added.
The R.D. MacDonald is a jack-up barge whose hull was launched in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012, and will be outfitted with a crane in Houma, Louisiana next year. The crane on the 260-foot long vessel will have a 280-foot boom allowing it to reach over 350 feet into the air when jacked-up offshore. The barge will be able to transport three wind turbines at one time and will have racks to carry the turbine blades.
Fall River Electrical Associates based in Fall River will be a subcontractor and will perform electric outfitting work for the project.
“We are interested in pursuing subcontracting opportunities with local firms that have the specialized capabilities and experience required for the project,” Palmer said.