NEW BEDFORD - The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the signing of a lease agreement with Vineyard Wind to utilize the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as the primary staging and deployment location for its offshore wind project located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.
Vineyard Wind was selected in May, 2018 to provide 800 megawatts of cost-effective offshore wind power to Massachusetts and represents 5.5-6 percent of the state’s electric load. The project will strengthen Massachusetts’ clean energy economy and build upon the Commonwealth’s commitment to a diverse energy portfolio.
“The historic and bipartisan energy legislation we passed in 2016 created a competitive procurement process that put Massachusetts in position to host the first large-scale offshore wind project in the United States and be a national leader for this emerging industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With this agreement, Massachusetts workers and the South Coast to help lead thisnew frontier for American energy and establish a hub for offshore wind development on the East Coast.”
“By signing this lease agreement with Vineyard Wind, we have achieved another major milestone to secure long-term jobs and economic growth for the people of Massachusetts,”said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Establishing an offshore wind supply chain in Massachusetts is critical to our mission to strengthen our economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Constructed and operated by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal is a 29-acre heavy-lift facility designed to support the construction, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects, as well as handle bulk, break-bulk, container, and large specialty marine cargo.
The first port in North America specifically built to support the staging and deployment of offshore wind components, the terminal has been engineered to sustain mobile crane and storage loads that rival the highest capacity ports in the world.
The lease agreement between MassCEC and Vineyard Wind represents a commitment to an 18-month lease at $6 million annually to use the terminal as the primary staging and deployment location for its offshore wind project.
“The Baker-Polito administration is committed to creating an energy portfolio that provides affordable rates to Massachusetts residents, while also reducing our carbon footprint, and offshore wind is integral to achieving these goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The agreement with Vineyard Wind will continue to establish New Bedford as a national epicenter for offshore wind development and move the Commonwealth closer to our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
In April, MassCEC released a report on the workforce needs and economic impact of the emerging offshore wind industry, finding that the deployment of 1,600 MW of offshore wind is estimated to support between 6,870 and 9,850 job years over the next ten years and generate a total economic impact in Massachusetts of between $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion.
“The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal provides Massachusetts with an important piece of infrastructure that will be critical in helping the offshore wind industry to establish operations in this new American marketplace,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “MassCEC is pleased to welcome Vineyard Wind as the first offshore wind developer to utilize this one-of-a-kind facility as we launch offshore wind in the United States.”
This announcement builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy and meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
In 2016, Governor Baker signed into law bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation requiring utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1,600MW of offshore wind and approximately 1,200MW of clean energy.
The terminal lease agreement is a product of a contract negotiated out of the 1,600MW authorized under the 2016 legislation.
The final acceptance of the Vineyard Wind contract is conditional upon and the regulatory approval at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), which is anticipated to be completed in early 2019. The project also requires permitting approval from state and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
"Vineyard Wind has made the Port of New Bedford and the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal a centerpiece of our proposal to build and operate an 800-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts because we truly understand the importance of the excellent port infrastructure and an existing supply chain that’s available right here, ready to help make offshore wind a lasting success,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Thaaning Pedersen. “Vineyard Wind’s initial investment and the Commonwealth’s commitment to clean energy will pay enormous dividends, in particular creation of a robust, sustainable supply chain that will stimulate new jobs and economic activity here on the South Coast."
“Today’s announcement not only cements Vineyard Wind’s commitment to stage the nation’s first industrial-scale offshore wind project from the Port of New Bedford, but it reinforces New Bedford’s leadership position in offshore wind energy,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “The City’s partnership with the Baker-Polito Administration has played an important part in that success, and we look forward to our continued work with the Administration, Vineyard Wind, and the entire offshore wind industry to ensure that Massachusetts, and New Bedford in particular, maintains its lead in the years ahead.”
“The potential for serious job creation with significant clean energy production at competitive rates is exciting,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “This milestone is not a mere promise to do something in the future, but a binding commitment to launch a new industry from New Bedford’s working port right now.”
"Renewable energy is critical to our planet's longevity,” said State Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport). “Once again, New Bedford is taking a lead in lighting the way and I am proud to see the city at the forefront of offshore wind projects in Massachusetts. This project brings new possibilities and opportunities to the area along with a clean and renewable future.”
“I am excited to see that the state’s investment in the New Bedford terminal will serve one of its intended purposes,” said Rep. Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett). “This agreement provides yet more evidence that port access is a major goal worthy of capital expenditures with direct benefits to maritime businesses and maritime workers.”