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With Industry Launch on the Horizon, Vineyard Wind Inks Labor Deal in New Bedford

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Daniel Ackerman
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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke Friday in New Bedford, where officials signed a labor deal between Vineyard Wind and the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council.

It’s all systems go for offshore wind in Massachusetts.

That was the message from officials Tuesday in New Bedford, where developer Vineyard Wind signed a labor deal with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council.

The agreement calls for 500 union jobs during the construction of the Vineyard Wind 1 project, which will place 62 turbines in the ocean about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Kathleen Theoharides, the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the deal marked a major step forward for a young industry. “It’s a great day, a historic day, for the city and for the Commonwealth to be finally launching this new industry,” she said. “It’s a big opportunity for climate change, for clean energy jobs and for infrastructure investment.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was on hand for the signing. She said the deal is a win for both the environment and economy. “We don’t have to choose between addressing climate change or creating economic development. When we do it right, we do both.”

Warren added that the agreement could mean a resurrection of a classic New Bedford nickname. From its days as the world’s top producer of whale oil, it was dubbed the city that lit the world. “Now 200 years later, the city is reclaiming that title by leading renewable offshore wind energy,” said Warren.

U.S. Senator Ed Markey also attended the signing, as did congressmen Jake Auchincloss and Bill Keating, as well as White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy.

The event was held at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, the nation’s first port facility dedicated to staging offshore windfarms.

Construction on the Vineyard Wind 1 project could start later this year. The project is expected to power about 400,000 homes and business in Massachusetts.