Baker-Polito Administration Highlights the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge

Erika McCarthy

NEW BEDFORD — To further support the Commonwealth’s offshore wind industry, the Baker-Polito Administration today highlighted the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge. The Ports Challenge seeks to leverage state funding with private and other types of investments for eligible maritime port redevelopment and improvement projects that will have significant impacts on the advancement of the offshore wind sector and capture high-value supply chain and workforce opportunities in the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth has always been at the forefront of taking environmental action, from combating climate change to our filing of the FORWARD Act, which seeks to support the state’s burgeoning clean energy industry, Massachusetts continues to take great strides in protecting our natural resources,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge serves as another example of our collective efforts to ensure the Commonwealth continues to blaze a path to Net Zero.”

“Strategic investment in our coastal ports will keep the Commonwealth well-positioned to pioneer and capitalize on the growth of the offshore wind industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge can change the economies of some of our coastal gateway cities and other communities, enabling equitable access to jobs and subcontracts, which the industry will need to rely on as they advance further along.”

The Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge has been allocated $50 million from the newly created Offshore Wind Investment Fund. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) will competitively select and fund qualified applicants. Selected projects will better position Massachusetts’ port facilities to support the offshore wind industry by bringing inactive and under-utilized sites into productive use, creating significant jobs and economic activity related to offshore wind deployment for the state. Applications for the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Ports Investment Challenge are due by July 29, 2022, at 5:00PM. The Baker-Polito Administration expects to announce the awards in fall 2022.

“The nation’s first two commercial-scale wind farms, which will produce a total of 3,200 MW of clean energy, will be built from the strategically located New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “In order to advance more offshore wind projects to achieve our emissions goals, the Baker-Polito Administration is continuing its efforts to invest in our port infrastructure so that we can support the industry and our coastal cities, creating an energy portfolio that will provide residents with affordable clean energy rates.”

“Our ports will be pivotal pieces of infrastructure and will be instrumental in helping to build our offshore wind industry and further cement our national leadership role,” said MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “The Baker-Polito Administration is excited by this opportunity and looks forward to seeing the replication of New Bedford’s success up and down the Massachusetts coast.”

Today’s announcement was made at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, constructed and operated by MassCEC. It is the first, and currently the only, port in the United States dedicated to and capable of staging, building, and maintaining commercial-scale offshore wind farms. Successful establishment of the offshore wind industry will require the build-out and long-term operation of multiple, highly-specialized port facilities to support industrial activities in the manufacturing and fabrication, pre-assembly and staging, and operation and maintenance sectors of the offshore wind supply chain.

This program builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy and meet the state’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In March of 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate change legislation that increased the Administration’s authorization to solicit an additional 2400 Megawatts of offshore wind, bringing the state’s total commitment to 5,600 Megawatts. Additionally, in April 2022, Governor Baker filed An Act Investing in Future Opportunities for Resiliency, Workforce, and Revitalized Downtowns (FORWARD), which includes $2.3 billion in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $1.256 billion in capital bond authorizations. It passed, the legislation will direct the funding toward projects that strengthen state infrastructure, create jobs and invest in all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. Significantly, the FORWARD Act includes a $750 million investment in the Commonwealth’s clean energy industry, building on Governor Baker’s October 2021 proposal, which makes funds available to support innovation, research and development, and job training in the clean energy sector.

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