Offshore wind is the largest potential source of clean energy for Massachusetts, with the ability to power more than half the homes in Massachusetts. MassCEC is working to make Massachusetts a national hub for the emerging offshore wind industry along the East Coast.
Our nation-leading strategy centers on accelerating the responsible development of offshore wind projects and increasing the role of Massachusetts companies and institutions in the offshore wind industry. Toward this goal, MassCEC is leading an array of baseline environmental surveys and technical analysis through close collaborations and partnerships with policy makers, regulators, developers, and stakeholders. These initiatives are designed to establish baseline environmental data to support the permitting process, reduce development and deployment risks, and increase jobs and economic activity in the offshore wind sector. MassCEC has:
- Launched an offshore wind transmission project to identify the most cost effective and least environmentally impactful cable routes and interconnection locations for delivering offshore wind electricity to the regional grid.
- Completed, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, three years of marine wildlife surveys (underwater acoustical buoys and aerial surveys) to provide baseline whale, turtle, and avian data for federal offshore permitting process.
- Commenced a supply chain analysis to connect Massachusetts manufacturers, suppliers, and services companies to offshore wind developers and contractors.
- Invested in workforce training programs at local community colleges aimed at preparing Massachusetts workers with the skills necessary to work in this emerging industry.
Investments in Infrastructure
In January 2015, MassCEC completed the construction of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, a multi-purpose facility specifically designed to construct, assemble, and deploy offshore wind projects. The Terminal is a 26-acre facility engineered to sustain mobile crane and storage loads that rival the highest load-bearing ports in the nation.
MassCEC, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, constructed the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC), the largest indoor wind blade test facility in North America. The WTTC is enabling blade manufacturers from across the globe to advance the technology and drive down costs.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island Massachusetts Offshore Wind Energy Areas
The federal government has awarded three leases to offshore wind companies in the federal wind planning areas located south of Martha’s Vineyard. The areas were identified through a planning process that began in 2009 and included consultations with federal, tribal, state, local officials, fishermen and environmentalists, as well as over 100 public and stakeholder meetings. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the areas could generate between 4,000 to 5,000 MW of clean energy, enough to power over half the homes in Massachusetts.