Governor Charlie Baker formalized his commitment to bringing the offshore wind industry to New Bedford on Monday, after signing a lease with offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind. The lease would allow Vineyard Wind to use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for 18 months, from 2020 to 2021, for staging and construction of offshore wind turbines before they are shipped out to the wind farm site roughly 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard.
"It's symbolic of a vision coming to fruition, that's really what’s happening here," said Erich Stephens, chief development officer of Vineyard Wind. "This has been going on for a very long time. It was sort of a 'build it and it will come' approach, and we are here, the offshore wind industry is now here,"
Baker noted as well that the industry has been a long time coming. Years ago, the state built the Marine Commerce Terminal in the hopes that it would be used by then offshore wind developer Cape Wind for staging. When that project fell through, the terminal sat empty for years. Baker said that today the industry looks different, and he sees the terminal as a way of signalling to European developers that Massachusetts is open for offshore wind business.
"The opportunity to sign this lease here is the result of many years of work on the part of a lot of people who believed this could be a big initiative, and a big opportunitym for the South Coast of the Commonwealth," Baker said.
Vineyard Wind will pay 6 million dollars a year to use the terminal, beginning in 2020. In 2019, the developer will focus on work related to onshoring turbine cables at Covell's Beach in Barnstable.