Massachusetts Government Plans to Pour USD 100 Million into Offshore Wind Port Infrastructure

Massachusetts’s Baker-Polio Administration plans to invest USD 100 million from federal COVID relief funding in critical port infrastructure to support offshore wind development.

“To ensure we maximize the economic potential of this industry and build on assets like the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, our Administration is proposing a significant investment in critical port infrastructure to meet the scale of offshore wind development in the Northeast and help us achieve our ambitious climate goals”, Governor Charlie Baker said while visiting the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as part of Climate Week in Massachusetts. 

Governor Baker’s plan is to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support critical priorities in cities and towns, with USD 900 million planned for key energy and environmental initiatives, including USD 700 million to support water infrastructure upgrades and climate resiliency, and USD 100 million to invest in port infrastructure to support the offshore wind industry.

The Baker-Polito Administration also announced the release of a new report, sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and authored by BW Research Partnership, which analyses offshore wind workforce development in the Northeast with a specific focus on Massachusetts.

The workforce study provides an overview of the existing, relevant regional training programmes, including grantees awarded under MassCEC’s 2018 and 2020 workforce development awards. The analysis also examines the workforce needed to achieve Massachusetts’ ambitious offshore wind goals, and the state’s ability to supply the necessary workers.

Furthermore, the report includes a focus on priority communities in which to focus workforce development efforts based on equity, need, and current workforce supply. The findings of this report will help inform the Administration’s offshore wind workforce efforts over the next several years, and is already being used by MassCEC to develop a career pathway mapping tool on its Careers Training and Education Directory.

“As Massachusetts prepares for the construction of the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the nation, our Administration is focused on ensuring our workforce is trained, ready, and offers pathways to employment for all residents, especially in the communities that can most benefit from this generational economic opportunity”, said Governor Charlie Baker. 

“To ensure we maximize the economic potential of this industry and build on assets like the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, our Administration is proposing a significant investment in critical port infrastructure to meet the scale of offshore wind development in the Northeast and help us achieve our ambitious climate goals”.

Constructed and operated by MassCEC, the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal is a 29-acre heavy-lift facility designed to support the construction, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects, as well as to handle bulk, break-bulk, container, and large specialty marine cargo.

In August 2020, the Massachusetts government announced the signing of lease agreements with Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind to utilise the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as the primary staging and deployment base for the construction and installation of their offshore wind projects located in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. The lease agreements commit the facility to full-time offshore wind work from 2023 into 2027 and are worth more than USD 32.5 million.

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Both Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind are bidding to develop new projects though the state’s latest offshore wind solicitation.

Mayflower Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and Ocean Winds, has just announced that it had filed proposals as part of Massachusetts’ 83C III offshore wind energy procurement, with the largest scenario including a 1,200 MW project. If successful, the developer plans to establish an operations and maintenance (O&M) port in Fall River at the Borden & Remington Ironworks complex.

Vineyard Wind has submitted two proposals for offshore wind energy projects in Massachusetts, offering options of approximately 800 MW and 1,200 MW. The proposals, named Commonwealth Wind, include the development of an offshore wind project in an area just south of the Vineyard Wind 1 and Park City Wind.

Massachusetts, which has already procured 1,600 MW of offshore wind capacity as a result of An Act Relative to Energy Diversity signed into law in 2016, will procure an additional 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2027, bringing the total to 4 GW by that time.

The new target for additional offshore wind capacity has been enabled by a comprehensive climate change legislation Governor Charlie Baker signed on 26 March, only a few days before the US announced its national target of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Photo: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker at New Bedford Marine Terminal; Photo source: Official Twitter account of Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts.