Century-old Millinocket foundry to replace penstocks for 2 Brookfield dams

Aaron McCluskey of Millinocket welds a manifold during recent work at Millinocket Fabrication and Machine Inc.
Courtesy of Millinocket Fabrication and Machine Inc.
Aaron McCluskey of Millinocket welds a manifold during recent work at Millinocket Fabrication and Machine Inc.
Posted July 08, 2014, at 5:41 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — One of Millinocket’s oldest businesses was awarded the job to replace penstocks to two dams with new technology, a decision made by Brookfield Renewable Power, officials to the energy company said Tuesday.

Millinocket Fabrication and Machine Inc. will build more than 700 feet of 11-foot diameter penstock and 400 feet of steel lining in about 150 modular pieces for eventual assembly and final installation at two Brookfield hydroelectric stations. One is located on Millinocket Stream in Millinocket, and the other is at and Riverside Station in Gorham, New Hampshire, officials said in a statement released last week.

Penstocks are large piping systems that feed river or lake water into large electricity-producing turbines within dam structures.

“We are replacing wooden penstocks installed at the turn of the century. Penstocks are built to last a long time, and we have confidence in the quality and workmanship of Millinocket Fabrication,” said Todd Wynn, the vice president of Brookfield Renewable’s Northeast Operations.

The fact that both companies are located in Millinocket made hiring the foundry “an added bonus,” Winn said.

Millinocket Fabrication’s production manager, Ed Girsa, said work is expected to begin in a few weeks.

The work is expected to be finished in November.

Although both companies declined to comment on the cost of the work or the number of people employed by the project, their joint statement makes mention of Millinocket Fabrication hiring extra welders and using newly acquired space within Millinocket.

Girsa did not immediately return a telephone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Millinocket Fabrication, which has been in business since 1906, has a 40,000-square-foot facility at 432 Katahdin Ave., Girsa said.

According to its website, millinocketfab.com, Millinocket Fabrication specializes in the custom fabrication and machining of parts weighing up to 15 tons. The company manufactures vacuum tanks, chambers, skid packages, groundwood products and machined components for the aerospace, automotive and semiconductor industries.

Brookfield has a regional office off Route 11 in Millinocket.

According to its website, brookfield.com, Brookfield Renewable is among a group of companies owned by Brookfield Asset Management. Brookfield Asset describes itself as a global alternative asset management company that has more than $175 billion in assets, which focus on property, renewable energy, infrastructure and private equity.

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