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US Rep. Keating seeking to bring wind farm jobs to Quincy

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  March 24, 2011 10:12 AM

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US Representative William Keating has his eye on the Quincy Shipyard, but unlike the ventures of late involving the vacant open space, Keating isn’t looking to film a movie there.

The congressman has been in talks with the owners of the Middleborough company Mass Tank, responsible for building the components of a first-of-its-kind wind park off the coast of Cape Cod.

The biggest tank manufacturer in the Northeast, Mass Tank recently expanded into turbine manufacturing, and for Keating, there is no better place to set up that new industry than in Quincy.

“Mass Tank is a strong, local company. Opening its new venture at the Quincy Shipyard would be a great opportunity for both Mass Tank and our community,” Keating said in a release. “It’s the right amount of space, there is easy access to the shipyard, and we have more than enough men and women who are ready to go to work. In fact, not even counting the construction jobs needed to complete this venture, hundreds of permanent jobs may be created in the manufacturing plant.”

Not only would the incoming industry create jobs, Keating said, it would keep the project local.

“I truly believe that if Mass Tank opens their manufacturing plant in Quincy, it will bring both new jobs and revenue to our district, and I am willing to work with whoever it takes to make this happen,” Keating said.

The 130 turbine project to be built 5.2 miles away from Point Gammon, a small island in South Yarmouth, will generate an average of 170 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 75 percent of all electricity needs for the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

Mass Tank’s role in the manufacturing would lie within the structural support for the turbines, or the creation of long, steel pieces to be driven 85 feet into the seabed to support the massive 250- to 350-ton structures above the water.

It’s not too far a cry from Mass Tank’s current job, which is to create tanks for a variety of uses around the world.

The wind project would be an expansion within the industry, and is something CEO Carl Horstmann said the company is doing to keep both its head, as well as the turbines, above water.

“I’ve been watching the Cape Wind odyssey, and half a dozen years ago, I saw some graphics for the foundations, and thought it would be a great opportunity for us to expand in that,” Horstmann said. “This is just a natural expansion of our product line. To survive in manufacturing, you have to keep on expanding and thinking outside the box, that’s what we’re doing.”

Currently, Mass Tank is in negotiations for potential manufacturing sites across the state, although he declined to say where.

According to Horstmann, whom Keating has been meeting with as of late, the ultimate location will depend on where the company can access deep water, and where there will be enough acreage to set up shop.

Horstmann said he would make his locating decision in April. The project would bring between 100-300 jobs to whichever area he chooses.

The initiative would bring industry back to the location that was active and vital to the field for nearly half a century. The Shipyard would go out of business in the '80s, however, leaving hundreds of local workers without jobs.

Mass Tank would lease the land from the current developers for the purpose of the project.

According to the Keating, the Shipyard is a Designated Port Area, meaning that only maritime enterprises can operate on location. Mass Tank’s offshore manufacturing initiative would fall under that standard.

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