April 10, 2018 Read More →

State Policy Sparks Emerging Massachusetts Wind Industry

InsideClimate News:

As the U.S. enters the global offshore wind market in earnest, Massachusetts is a state to watch—on shore as well as off.

In a few weeks, the state will announce which among three proposed offshore wind projects it wants to move ahead. No matter which are chosen, Massachusetts wins.

That’s because more than a decade ago, the state began developing the onshore components for offshore wind, including a major offshore wind-ready port in New Bedford, a wind turbine blade testing center in Charlestown and workforce training initiatives. Officials envisioned Massachusetts as the hub for an entire future East Coast wind industry.

In 2006, with a proposal for offshore wind power in the region under consideration, Matthew Morrissey began exploring what the industry could do for New Bedford, where he was the city’s top economic development official. Once a major port, New Bedford’s whaling days were long gone and its fishing drastically diminished.

Offshore wind, he thought, could be its resurrection. He initiated studies and began discussing the idea with lawmakers. Today he’s a vice president at Deepwater Wind, one of the offshore wind developers waiting to hear about their project.

Morrissey and others say it could have come to nothing without Massachusetts’ groundbreaking state policies, beginning with ambitious clean energy goals in 2008 and the state’s first-in-the-nation offshore wind energy mandate. The mandate, approved in August 2016 by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, requires the state’s utilities to have long-term contracts for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by June 2027.

The competitive solicitation for the first quarter of that is about to be completed, and it includes proposals from all three developers holding lease areas off New England—Deepwater Wind, Bay State Wind and Vineyard Wind.

“The smartest thing they did—they passed that legislation and then they swiftly and effectively implemented it,” said Stephanie McClellan, director of the University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind. “They will be rewarded for that.”

It would seem the state is already seeing those rewards. Just this month, Bay State Wind, a partnership between Denmark’s Ørsted and New England’s Eversource Energy, announced it would open a facility in Massachusetts to manufacture offshore wind components with steel pipe manufacturer EEW and Gulf Island Fabrication. It predicted the plant would create 500 jobs and lead to 1,200 more in the local community.

Deepwater Wind said in March it was looking at three Massachusetts locations for a wind turbine foundation assembly facility. In February, Anbaric Development Partners, a transmission and microgrid company already located in Massachusetts, received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop a transmission system for offshore wind in southern New England.

More: To See Offshore Wind Energy’s Future, Look on Shore – in Massachusetts

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