Cianbro lands $100 million contract to build part of wind farm

Posted Dec. 23, 2013, at 2:50 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 24, 2013, at 9:01 a.m.

BREWER, Maine — Cianbro Corp. has received a contract to fabricate an important element of Cape Wind, the offshore wind farm being developed off the coast of Massachusetts.

Pittsfield-based Cianbro will construct what’s known as the electric service platform at its Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer. Siemens, which is providing the turbines for the Cape Wind project, subcontracted the platform construction to Cianbro.

The platform will be located near the center of the offshore wind farm and carry a substation that will transform the voltage of the electricity produced by the wind turbines before sending the power ashore.

Peter Vigue, Cianbro’s chairman and CEO, told the Bangor Daily News on Monday that the company has been working with Siemens on the development of this offshore substation for the past year.

“This is a clear indication that Maine people and Maine companies can compete, and obviously we’re very proud to be a part of it,” Vigue said.

The platform will not float; instead, it will be anchored to the ocean floor by a “very large” substructure, Vigue said. The total value of the platform and substructure will exceed $100 million.

While this is the first offshore wind project Cianbro has worked on, the scope of the project is not unlike past projects the company has completed, Vigue said. As an example, he pointed to Cianbro’s role in 2007 as lead developer on the Neptune Regional Transmission System project, which consisted of the installation of an undersea cable and construction of two electricity converter stations to interconnect the Long Island Power Authority with the regional power grid in New Jersey. Siemens was the technology provider in the Neptune project, as well.

“This type of work is nothing new for us,” Vigue said. “We’ve worked in an ocean environment before and have for many, many years.”

Vigue couldn’t say exactly how many jobs this project would support in Brewer, but said, “It is a large project and will have a significant impact on people and employment, and at the same time benefit the state, as well.”

Cianbro is a partner in Maine Aqua Ventus, a consortium formed with the University of Maine and Emera to commercialize the university’s offshore floating wind turbine technology. Maine Aqua Ventus is one of six applicants vying for a $46.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the development of offshore wind technology.

Vigue said Cianbro’s work on the Cape Wind project will add “credibility” to the Maine Aqua Ventus proposal.

U.S. Sen. Angus King welcomed the news that Cianbro had been chosen to work on the Cape Wind project.

“I am very pleased that Cianbro, a Maine-based company and partner in UMaine’s floating offshore wind project, will join forces with Siemens and Cape Wind of Massachusetts to produce the offshore substation for an industry-leading offshore wind farm,” King said in a statement. “By helping to generate renewable energy, and by putting New Englanders to work in the process, projects like this will not only benefit our environment, but our economy as well.”

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.

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