New Bedford Becomes Cape Wind’s Staging Area
On Friday, September 12, Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick joined Cape Wind Associate’s Jim Gordon to announce that Cape Wind has entered into a lease agreement with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to stage its historic, first-in-the-Nation offshore wind project out of the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal located on New Bedford harbor, a project that from construction through operation will create hundreds of new jobs.
MassCEC expects Cape Wind to begin operations at the terminal site in January 2015.
“With this agreement and with the investments we have made in infrastructure like the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal, we have positioned Massachusetts as a first-in-the Nation hub for a new offshore wind industry that will bring jobs and a clean source of Massachusetts-made energy for future generations,” said Governor Patrick.
The two-year lease agreement calls for Cape Wind to pay MassCEC $4.5 million in rent for use of the 28-acre facility. The South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal is the first facility of its kind in North America, and has been specifically designed to handle the heavy loads associated with the staging of offshore wind projects. The terms of the lease include an option for two one-year extensions.
Last week Cape Wind announced it will file a request for modification of its Construction and Operations Plan with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to allow the use of the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal for deployment of the Cape Wind project. MassCEC broke ground on the terminal project in April 2013. Construction of the terminal is 80 percent complete and is scheduled to be completed in December 2014.
“Adjacent to the largest offshore wind energy areas along the East Coast and within a community of skilled workers, the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal is the perfect home for the nation’s first offshore wind development,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “We’re pleased that Cape Wind is making this commitment to become the terminal’s first customer.”
“Building on our Nation-leading success in adoption of energy efficiency and solar power, offshore wind is the next big frontier in clean energy for Massachusetts,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “The clean energy industry already employs 80,000 workers and today’s announcement will fuel even greater clean energy job creation here in the Commonwealth.”
“I am pleased that Cape Wind is notifying the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that we would like to use New Bedford as a staging and assembly port and that we have signed a lease with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to use this new facility,” said Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind. “Cape Wind hopes to be the first of many offshore wind projects that will operate out of New Bedford, creating jobs and economic development and once again make New Bedford an energy capital of the world.”
The terminal, located inside New Bedford Harbor and protected by the hurricane barrier, was designed as a multi-purpose facility and engineered to sustain the heavy loads of some of the largest cranes in the world. More than 21 acres of the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal’s main terminal site has the ability to sustain uniform loads of 4,100 pounds per square foot and concentrated loads of up to 20,485 pounds per square foot. This allows for heavy cranes to be mobile throughout the site, increasing the efficiency of the facility and providing logistical flexibility for terminal operators.
The terminal is positioned in close proximity to the Cape Wind project, as well as many other offshore wind planning areas along the East Coast including large development areas in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The U.S. Department of Energy projects 43,000 clean energy jobs will be created in the offshore wind industry nationally by 2030 and Massachusetts is poised to claim a strong portion of those jobs with its first-to-market position. Since 2009, the Commonwealth has been working with the federal government, tribes and local officials on the establishment of the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. There are more than 742,000 acres in federal waters off the shore of Massachusetts – the largest offshore wind planning area along the East Coast.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that the area has the potential to generate between 4,000 and 5,000 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power more than half of the homes in Massachusetts. The federal government will be conducting an auction to lease this area for commercial wind energy development in December 2014.