The developer of the United States’ first large-scale offshore wind farm has announced plans today to transform a historic New England port into a purpose-built hub to support wind projects off the state’s coasts.
Vineyard Wind said Thursday it has partnered up with the City of Salem, in Massachusetts, and Crowley Maritime Corporation to create a public-private partnership aimed at establishing Salem Harbor as the state’s second major offshore wind port, alongside a similar site in New Bedford.
Salem Harbor was a major internationally-known trading port in the early days of the United States, but today is mostly used for recreational purposes and ferry service to Boston.
Vineyard Wind estimates that the project, which is still contingent on approval by the state of Massachusetts, would create up to an estimated 400 full-time equivalent yearly jobs during the revitalization of the port and up to another 500 full-time jobs over the first five years for construction and staging and also day-to-day port operations, for a total of 900 full-time equivalent jobs.
Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), has been in the process of developing two offshore wind projects on the outer continental shelf south of Massachusetts; the 800 megawatts (MW) capacity Vineyard Wind 1 project, which was granted federal approval in May, and Park City Wind, an 804 MW project still in the planning phases. But earlier this month, the company said it was moving forward with plans for two additional projects off the coast of Massachusetts, known as Commonwealth Wind, offering up to 2000 MW of capacity.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Crowley, through its New Energy subsidiary Crowley Wind Services, will purchase the 42 acres surrounding Salem Harbor Station, currently owned by Footprint Power LLC, and will serve as the long-term offshore wind port operator for the site. Vineyard Wind’s partners (Avangrid Renewables and CIP) will serve as the port’s anchor tenants, utilizing the property for the Commonwealth Wind project as well as others.
“As offshore wind continues to expand, new purpose-built ports will be key to the success of this industry. By constructing the nation’s first purpose-built offshore wind port in New Bedford, Massachusetts has been leading the way. With a new offshore wind port in Salem, the Commonwealth can ensure that it is ready to face the demands of a rapidly growing industry,” said Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “With both New Bedford and Salem capable of delivering port operations needed for offshore wind, the state can ensure that both the South Coast and the North Shore can benefit from the creation of new, highly skilled and good paying jobs, something that will cement Massachusetts’ position as a leader in the new and growing offshore wind industry.”
Commonwealth Wind will be developed in an area just south of Vineyard Wind 1 and Park City Wind projects, adhering to the 1 x 1 nautical mile spacing endorsed by the United States Coast Guard as the preferred layout for safety and navigation.
The Commonwealth Wind project intends to use the site for turbine assembly and staging activities, utilizing the site to store and assemble components – including blades, nacelles, and tower sections – as they are prepared for offshore installation. Given Salem Harbor’s deep-water port and unrestricted height access to accommodate large-scale wind turbine installation vessels, Vineyard Wind sees Salem Harbor as a necessary addition to support the offshore wind industry within the Commonwealth and across the region.
Both Vineyard Wind and Crowley will work alongside the City of Salem on community outreach and listening process to seek input and build support for the partnership. The parties are committed to jointly developing a local community benefit agreement to safeguard the City’s long-term interests, while working with residents and businesses to identify local supply chain and workforce development opportunities.
“I am so pleased to welcome Vineyard Wind and Crowley Maritime here to Salem,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “For centuries, when Salem looked toward its future, it looked toward the sea. This site, in particular, has provided the electricity that has powered our community and our Commonwealth for generations.”
“This partnership reinforces Crowley’s position as a total lifecycle service provider in the offshore wind sector,” said Vice President Jeff Andreini of Crowley New Energy. “We look forward to working with Vineyard Wind and the City of Salem and providing the highest level of service in order to make Salem Harbor a leading provider in the offshore wind supply chain.”
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