The Port of New Bedford would be the hub for a 24-turbine, 144-MW offshore wind project if Deepwater Wind wins a state bid early next year to supply renewable energy to Massachusetts utilities, the company announced Friday.
Deepwater Wind Vice President Matt Morrissey announced plans for the company’s Revolution Wind project during a press conference near the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which he said would be both the construction and operations hub for the project. Revolution Wind would provide enough power to supply more than 70,000 homes.
The bid will be submitted in response to a 2016 bill enacted to require public utilities to purchase power produced from renewable energy sources, including offshore wind.
Morrissey said that Revolution Wind would create 700 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs to maintain and operate the wind farm, which would be built about 30 miles south of New Bedford in federal waters. It would create an economic impact of $200-$250 million, he said.
Morrissey said Deepwater Wind would pay Massachusetts $5.5 million annually during the one- to two-year construction phase to use the Marine Commerce Terminal, which was built by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center at cost of $113 million. It is the only terminal in the nation built specifically to accommodate the great size and weight of offshore wind turbine components.
Deepwater Wind also will pay New Bedford $500,000 annually for harbor services and other related costs during construction.
Morrissey said Deepwater Wind also wants to help build a regional supply chain to help lower the cost of building offshore wind farms and the power they produce, noting that costs have fallen sharply in Europe over the past two years.
“This is a milestone moment,” he said. “It is just the beginning” as New England begins to replace aging, costly fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.
Morrissey credited New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell for providing the leadership and vision to help launch the new industry.
Mitchell noted that 25 percent of the nation’s harvestable wind resource is located along the region’s coastline and that offshore wind will bring jobs and economic growth to the city “10, 20 and 50 years from now.”
Mitchell said New Bedford has “the best seafaring workforce in the country — bar none” — a key advantage for New Bedford as competition emerges in other port cities along the East Coast.
Deepwater Wind built the nation’s first offshore wind farm — five turbines producing 30MW — on Block Island and has a lease to build another project off Long Island.
Deepwater Wind is one of three developers hoping to build the first industrial scale wind farm off the Massachusetts coast in waters leased to them by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management off Martha’s Vineyard. The other lease-holders are Bay State Wind, a subsidiary of DONG Energy (soon to be renamed Orsted), and Vineyard Wind.