December 24, 2013

Maine company wins $100 million wind contract

Cianbro’s Brewer facility will build a platform and electrical substation for a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

By Tom Bell
Staff Writer

Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. has won a contract worth more than $100 million to build an electrical service platform for an offshore wind farm in Massachusetts waters.

The steel platform, which will stand on the ocean floor and support an electrical substation, will be manufactured at Cianbro’s facility in Brewer, said Peter Vigue, Cianbro’s president and CEO. He said the company will also build the substation.

“I would hope this (contract) gives Maine people and Maine companies the confidence that we can compete – on a national and international basis – with complex, difficult projects,” Vigue said in an interview Monday.

Cianbro will do the work for Siemens AG, Europe’s biggest engineering company, which signed a contract Monday to build the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States.

The $2.6 billion project, called Cape Wind, is to be developed in Nantucket Sound, off the Massachusetts coast. When completed, it will have a capacity of 468 megawatts. Siemens will build 130 wind turbines, and Cianbro will build everything else, Vigue said.

Siemens is also proposing to take a $100 million equity stake in the project, which has faced opposition from many Cape Cod residents, including the Kennedy family.

Vigue said Cianbro’s designers and engineers have been working on the project for more than a year. When construction begins, he said, the company will likely hire new workers, although it’s not clear how many.

He said the company may also contract some of the work to other Maine companies.

When it’s completed, the platform will be transported by barge down the Penobscot River from Brewer, then taken along the coast to Nantucket Sound, Vigue said.

Cianbro, a heavy industrial construction company, has facilities in Massachusetts and Maryland, in addition to Maine.

The company, which also has a construction facility in Portland, has earned a reputation for handling large and complex projects, both on and off the water.

It built two offshore oil rigs in Portland Harbor in 2002 and is now working on a floating structure in Portland Harbor that Google intends to use as a high-tech showroom.

Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

Twitter: @TomBellPortland

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