Hamilton Companies will Build First Offshore Wind Farm

At a press conference today organized by the Lake Ontario Offshore Network, Windstream announced preliminary agreements with Bermingham Foundation Solutions, Walters Group, McKeil Marine and the Hamilton Port Authority to build its 300 MW Wolfe Island Shoals offshore wind power project.

The Windstream Wolfe Island Shoals project is unique given that the entire project will be built in the lake. These four companies will be bringing their expertise to the project by manufacturing, constructing, transporting and installing the project’s structures.

Bermingham Foundation Solutions will be responsible for securing the turbines and structures to the lakebed. Walters Group will be providing and fabricating the structural steel for the project utilizing their four facilities in the Hamilton area. The Hamilton Port Authority will provide shore and quayside facilities for the final assembly and transshipment of the turbines, foundations and components. McKeil Marine will be utilizing their tugs, barges and platforms to move and erect the turbines via special barges to the site.

An AECOM study commissioned by Windstream estimates approximately 1900 jobs will be created in Ontario during the first five years of construction of the project. Windstream holds the only offshore wind power Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) contract in the Province of Ontario, which was awarded by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) in May 2010. The project is planned to be located from five to sixteen kilometers off the southwest shore of Wolfe Island, in eastern Lake Ontario.

"The Hamilton Port Authority will be dedicating $20 million in physical infrastructure assets to the project. This is an incredible opportunity for the revitalization of Hamilton’s north end, and an illustration of how Canada’s marine highway can be utilized to move large infrastructure projects such as this one," stated Bruce Wood, President of the Hamilton Port Authority.

"Windstream is looking forward to bringing this level of investment, revitalization and job growth to the Hamilton area. We are responding directly to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s challenge this week to invest and create jobs in Ontario. We are here. We are stepping up to the table. We are ready to invest, the jobs are immediate and real," stated Ian Baines, President of Windstream Energy.

"Hamilton is committed to doing what it can to secure quality jobs and investment in our community. We are thrilled with Windstream’s announcement and believe our city will be the future hub for North American offshore wind expertise and supply," said City of Hamilton Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge.

"We welcome this development. It will mean 1900 jobs for the next five years for Hamilton and other communities in Ontario. But we also see this as the opportunity to place Hamilton on the map of the new clean green economy of the future. This is the beginning and one hell of a beginning," stated Tony DePaulo, Hamilton Niagara Regional Supervisor – United Steelworkers.