The following is the text of a news release from Cape Wind:
(BOSTON) — Cape Wind announced today that it has signed a contract with Weeks/Manson, a joint venture (WMJV) to serve as the lead construction contractor. The Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO, will provide skilled workers to WMJV 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 Co. 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.” 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 and project director for WMJV, 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.”
"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.
In January 2011, Weeks Marine began plans to build America’s first special purpose offshore wind turbine installation vessel, the R.D. MacDonald. “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, 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.
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 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. For more information, visit www.capewind.org.
Weeks Marine is a family-owned marine contractor founded in 1919 on the New York/New Jersey waterfront. In the 95 years since, the company has grown to be one of the leading marine construction, dredging and tunneling contractors in the United States and Canada. Together with its wholly owned subsidiaries, Healy Tibbitts Builders and McNally International, Weeks Marine serves markets throughout North America, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim. With the hundreds of marine vessels in its fleet, the company works millions of man-hours each year on marine and heavy civil infrastructure projects.
Manson Construction Co. is a leading heavy civil marine contractor with a fleet of heavy marine equipment that includes 60 specialized vessels and over 50 barges. Established in 1905, Manson began as a small, family-owned Puget Sound marine pile driving business. Today, Manson thrives as an employee-owned company with a national presence offering a wide range of services including dredging, waterfront construction, bridge building, heavy lifts, and offshore work. Headquarters remain in Seattle, though the company has expanded to include permanent facilities in Northern and Southern California, Louisiana and Florida.