Cape Wind announced Aug. 5 that it has signed a contract with Weeks/Manson, a joint venture of two construction companies known as the “WMJV,” to serve as the lead construction contractor for its offshore wind project.
The Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO, will provide skilled workers to the joint venture to build Cape Wind. WMJV is a partnership between two of the leading marine construction firms in the U.S.; Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J., and Manson Construction of Seattle, Wash. WMJV 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.”
Rick Palmer, a Vice President of Weeks Marine and Project Director for WMJV, said: “We are excited to build Cape Wind and help launch the U.S. offshore wind industry. We have been pursuing this new market for over 10 years and we admire the perseverance of the Cape Wind team.”
“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 R.D. MacDonald is a jack-up barge whose hull was launched in Florida in 2012, and will be outfitted with a crane in 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, Mass., will be a subcontractor to WMJV 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 added.
Cape Wind will be America’s first offshore wind farm and its developer says it will help catalyze a domestic offshore wind industry and related supply chain. Cape Wind has long term Power Purchase Agreements with National Grid and NSTAR, the two largest electric utilities in Massachusetts. Cape Wind is the first U.S. offshore wind project to be fully permitted, and to have been issued a commercial lease and received approval for its Construction and Operations Plan by the U.S. Department of Interior. Cape Wind is currently in its financing phase.