Cape Wind has further expanded its project team, having signed a contract with Weeks/Manson, a Joint Venture (WMJV) to serve as the lead construction contractor on the 468 MW offshore wind farm, to be located off the coast of Massachusetts.
WMJV is a partnership between two U.S. marine construction firms: New Jersey-based Weeks Marine and Washington-based Manson Construction Co. WMJV will install the Siemens offshore turbines with a fleet of vessels, including the R.D. MacDonald. In addition, the developer says Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO, will provide skilled workers to WMJV to build Cape Wind.
‘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," says Cape Wind President Jim Gordon.
Rick Palmer, a vice president of Weeks Marine and project director for WMJV, adds, "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.’
Cape Wind says that, in January 2011, Weeks Marine began plans to build the U.S.' first special-purpose offshore wind turbine installation vessel, the R.D. MacDonald. The vessel is a jack-up barge whose hull was launched in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012 and will be outfitted with a crane in Houma, La., 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.
‘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,’ says 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."
Massachusetts-based Fall River Electrical 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,’ notes Palmer.