On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration announced the developers will use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as the primary staging area for the construction and installation of their offshore wind projects in waters south of Martha’s Vineyard.
“Not only does it indicate both of those companies’ confidence in North American offshore wind market, but also the value of the New Bedford facility in helping to launch this brand new industry in the United States,” said Steve Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
This four-year, $32.5 million lease agreement with the state is set to begin in 2023, and follows a year-long delay by the Trump administration after the fishing industry expressed concerns about offshore winds’ impact on local fisheries.
“What I think this shows is that these companies are confident that over time they will be able to answer the very legitimate questions that the federal government has asked,” Pike said, “and that they can develop offshore wind projects in a very responsible manner.”
New Bedford has North America’s only custom-built support facility for the construction of offshore wind farms, which Pike says he’s eager to see in use.
“The opportunity to quite literally launch a new industry in the U.S. from a port in New Bedford is really a terrific opportunity.”
In a statement, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell described it as “welcome news.” State officials have said they’re hopeful the project will bring jobs and economic growth to New Bedford and coastal areas stretching from eastern Connecticut to Cape Cod.
Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind are expected to advance the state’s green energy goals by providing enough renewable energy to power 400,000 Massachusetts homes.
“In terms of carbon reduction,” Pike later wrote in an email, “[that’s] equal to taking 750,000 cars of the road annually.”