New Bedford Port Terminal to Host Offshore Wind Assembly and Construction

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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New facility will be suitable for all maritime commerce, including offshore wind installation
Oct 19, 2010 –
New Bedford

Governor Deval Patrick today announced that a new multi-purpose marine commerce terminal will be built in the port of New Bedford to support the delivery, assembly, and installation of offshore wind turbines, as well as shipping and other commercial activities. Cape Wind Associates will use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for its first-in-the-nation offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

This facility will make New Bedford Harbor more prosperous through all its uses, but especially by capturing the 600 to 1,000 jobs from construction of Cape Wind, and making Massachusetts the hub of offshore wind development on the Atlantic Coast. 

“In the first half of the 19th century, New Bedford produced the advanced fuel of the age – whale oil – and became known as ‘the city that lit the world,’” said Governor Patrick. “Now, with this new terminal, and this first-in-the-nation project, New Bedford will once again begin to light the world, but this time with the clean, renewable energy resource of the 21st century – offshore wind.”

“Our Administration understands the importance of improved infrastructure and investment in our seaport communities up and down our coast,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who also chairs the Seaport Advisory Council. “This new facility at the port terminal will leverage enhanced infrastructure along the city's seaport to support a growing innovative clean energy industry in New Bedford and the Commonwealth.”

“This investment means jobs for New Bedford and a modern facility that improves the way we do business,” said Senator John Kerry.

“I am proud to join Governor Patrick and Mayor Lang to announce this major step to advance the economy of New Bedford and the South Coast,” said Congressman Barney Frank. “Not only will New Bedford be a major beneficiary of the Cape Wind project, but the marine terminal will be an integral component of the area's infrastructure that will provide permanent economic benefits to the city and the entire region.”

“With this announcement, we take an important step towards transforming New Bedford from the Whaling City to the Wind Turbine City,” said Congressman Ed Markey, chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The same winds that once powered whaling ships will soon be harnessed to meet our energy needs in Massachusetts and around New England.”

“New Bedford is poised to help provide Massachusetts with the energy and the jobs of tomorrow. If you look at the diversity of industries, the potential for growth, and the capabilities of those who chose to call this place home, it is easy to see why New Bedford is such an outstanding location for this facility. There is no doubt this is going to augment the already substantial economic development efforts we’ve fought so hard to promote in this region,” said Senator Mark Montigny.

“This is an historic day for New Bedford. With today’s announcement, New Bedford Harbor welcomes another industry to our region: clean energy.  Governor Patrick’s leadership in making Massachusetts a leader in clean energy and our city’s port facilities, infrastructure, and industrial skills position New Bedford to become a center of this emerging industry,” said Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral.

“The city has been working with Governor Patrick, Congressman Frank, and other state and federal officials for many months on this important new port facility, which will serve traditional maritime commerce as well as the clean energy industry of the future, and I appreciate their support and leadership,” said New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang. “We are excited about Cape Wind’s decision to choose New Bedford as its home, and about New Bedford’s future as the home port of offshore wind for years to come.”

The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will consist of a 1,200 linear foot bulkhead with deep water access and roughly 20 acres of surface space. This multi-use marine commerce terminal will initially be used as a support facility for Cape Wind and its turbine supplier, Siemens, to build the first offshore wind project in the United States. The 21-acre terminal will accommodate the docking of vessels that deliver wind turbine parts as well as barges to transport components from port to the installation area, in addition to lay down space.

Having such a terminal will enhance Massachusetts’ competitive position as the “first mover” in offshore wind, with a port facility ideally suited to offshore wind, and located in proximity to other areas far off the coastline that are under consideration for future wind installations. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has commissioned a transmission study outlining methods for connecting multiple offshore wind projects to the onshore power grid.

The federal government is commencing a leasing process for federal waters farther from the coast of Massachusetts and all along the Atlantic Coast. That will lead to dozens offshore wind projects, many of which could make use of this terminal. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts that full development of U.S. offshore wind potential could create 43,000 permanent jobs and generate $200 billion in economic activity. At least four other East Coast states are pursuing the development of wind energy projects off their coasts.

“Because of the vision and leadership of Governor Patrick, Mayor Lang, Congressman Frank, and Senator Montigny, New Bedford and the region can create and attract not only the hundreds of Cape Wind construction and manufacturing jobs, but will be positioned to become the North American center of the emerging offshore renewable energy industry with all of the attendant additional jobs and technology cluster,” said Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind.

When not in use for offshore wind projections, the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will be available for other marine commercial and industrial activities, such as bulk cargo and container shipping.

“The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal is a vital improvement to the city’s port infrastructure and will contribute greatly to the livelihood of the Commonwealth’s marine commerce economy,” said Pierre Bernier, Manager-Freight Forwarding, Maritime International Inc., a cold storage warehousing and cargo management services provider with three warehouses in New Bedford. “This project is in an ideal location and I look forward to working to sell new capacity that the terminal will create.”

The project is still in the process of engineering and design, but the cost of construction is estimated at $35 million and is expected to be financed by state, federal, and city resources, as well as operating revenues. The terminal will be operated by a consortium of state and local agencies. State agencies currently collaborating on the project include the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and MassDevelopment. New Bedford was chosen for this facility through a state study of deepwater ports to determine the most suitable port for serving the offshore wind industry. 

Cape Wind will pay commercial rates established by the operating authority through the wind project's construction period, expected to be 2011 through 2012. The terminal will also be available for other cargoes, as well as additional offshore renewable energy projects as they become ready for construction.