New Bedford makes its pitch to impress, attract Amazon

From SouthCoastToday.com

NEW BEDFORD — Calling New Bedford “a city unlike any other” with its proud past and bright future, officials submitted a 40-page proposal to Amazon, as the e-commerce giant seeks a location to construct a second world headquarters.

While the state included New Bedford as one of 26 Massachusetts communities in its formal proposal to Amazon, the city also independently submitted its pitch to build the headquarters on property at the municipal golf course on Hathaway Road.

The prize is huge: a million square foot facility and 50,000 well-paying jobs — enough to transform the economy of wherever Amazon decides to place it.

“New Bedford’s come a long way in the last few years,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “And we’ve reached a point where we can — with a straight face — make this kind of pitch to the likes of Amazon. It’s not to say we’re the odds on favorite, but we can make a play for this with credibility.”

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New Bedford asks $15m for North Terminal

From SouthCoastToday.com

NEW BEDFORD — With a green light from the EPA, the city is poised to win a $15 million federal TIGER grant to at last begin bulkhead construction and dredging at the harbor’s under-used North Terminal, to expand its uses and take some off the pressure off of the rest of the harbor, which is straining at capacity.

Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn told The Standard-Times that a TIGER grant — which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery — ought to be winnable this year now that uncertainties about environmental permitting have been eliminated in an official EPA ruling. The grant application last year was denied because of those unresolved concerns about the permitting. He said that the EPA notified the city only a week and a half ago that the project is officially permitted, dredging and bulkhead included.

That EPA judgment opened the door of opportunity for this year’s application for a project that will have far-reaching implications for the fishing industry and freight — possibly including both international shipping and freight service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The latter was a serious bone of contention several years ago, and never fully resolved. Truck traffic congestion is unabated on Woods Hole Road, where for years some residents have sought relief in the form of diverting freight to New Bedford to ease the pressure on Cape Cod.

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Revolution Wind project would be based in New Bedford

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.

Deepwater Wind’s Massachusetts Vice President Matt Morrissey announced the company’s intention to stage its Revolution Wind offshore wind project in the Port of New Bedford. With him, from left, are Port Director Ed Anthes-Washburn, Mayor Jon Mitchell and New Bedford City Councilor and Workforce Investment Board Director Jim Oliveira.

Offshore wind industry in US with a dozen projects slated

From the New Bedford Wind Energy Center

State and federal officials meet in New Bedford Oct. 4 to discuss developments in offshore wind.

From Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, the offshore wind industry is taking shape along the East Coast.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has leased 12 projects (soon to be 13) covering 1.4 acres of ocean for a total of $68 million. The sites are capable of producing 16,000MW of electrical power.
Massachusetts is expected to award the first contract for developing a wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard by spring of 2018.
Studies of the effect of offshore wind farms on bird and bat migration and marine mammals are continuing.

The update was provided during a meeting on wind and renewable energy development before the New England Fisheries Management Council in New Bedford.

Massachusetts port cities could boom under offshore wind

From the Boston Herald

Offshore wind projects planned for the waters off the Bay State could breathe new life into more than a dozen shuttered ports, officials said, as power companies look for properties to assemble turbines and conduct mechanical operations for the deep-water energy developments.

In a report released yesterday, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center highlighted 18 port sites in Boston, Quincy, Fall River, Somerset and New Bedford that may be of interest for the three offshore wind companies that hold leases for federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and are vying to be the first out of the gate when power contracts go out to bid later this month.

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SouthCoast looks for share of new US offshore wind industry

From SouthCoastToday.com

NEWTON — Equipment and services suppliers who hope to do business with Massachusetts’ emerging offshore wind industry gathered Wednesday in Newton to pitch to a who’s-who of major players, including the three anticipated bidders for the state’s first contract and two turbine manufacturers, GE and Siemens.

It was standing-room only in a hotel ballroom set for about 200 people for a conference hosted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Many participants came from Massachusetts, but some traveled from around the eastern and central United States, Canada and Europe. Among about a dozen SouthCoast companies registered were Cornell Dubilier Electronics, Maritime International, Sea Fuels Marine Services, Fairhaven Shipyard, and CLE Engineering in Marion. Read more here:

Massachusetts plots course on offshore wind with port study

From reNews

Massachusetts has released a detailed assessment of 18 waterfront sites from Boston to Fall River that could be developed to support construction of 1.6GW of offshore wind over the next 10 years.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center commissioned the ports and infrastructure study carried out by Ramboll Environ, Apex and other local engineering companies, the University of Massachusetts (Boston) Urban Harbors Institute and Tufts University.

Companies in line to supply Mass. offshore wind industry

From the New Bedford Wind Energy Center

The rush is on.

Companies eager to supply goods and services to the new offshore wind industry that will be built in the waters off the coast of southern Massachusetts jammed a forum in Newton, MA, today.

Organized by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Offshore Wind Supply Chain Forum brought together three of the developers that control leases in

Offshore wind developers and representatives of companies interested in becoming part of the supply chain for the new industry at a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center forum in Newton on Wednesday, May 31.

federal waters marked for the development of offshore wind.

Among the possible supply chain companies represented were international giants GE Offshore and Siemens, along with companies from around the US, including Gulf Island Fabrication (Louisiana), Ventower Industries (Michigan) and EEW Special Pipes Construction (Germany).

The developers and companies wishing to be part of the supply chain came together to swap information and arrange follow-up meetings. They heard  speeches from Matt Beaton, Massachusetts secretary of energy; Jay Ash, the state secretary of housing and economic development; and state Rep. Pat Haddad, House speaker pro tempore and key proponent of state legislation requiring public utilities to purchase 1,600MW of offshore wind power over the next decade.

Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, which built the first offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island (and is looking to build off Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland), said about one-third of the goods and services his company used in building the project came from greater Rhode Island, one-third from Germany and the rest from companies serving the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

Erich Stephens, the CEO of Vineyard Wind, owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) said his company  is committed to building both a local supply chain and workforce capacity in Massachusetts.

“CIP is in it for the long term,” he said.  “(We) need balance between leaning too much on Europe and using Massachusetts companies as supply chain.”

DONG Energy’s Fred Zalcman said a successful supply chain will include partners who can help the industry in “achieving scale, standardization and (building) long-

term relationships within the host community, like in the Hull/Humber region” of England, epicenter of the United Kingdom’s multi-billion dollar offshore wind industry.

 

 

Offshore wind transforming English manufacturing cities

The Port of Hull, England, hosts a new Siemens turbine blade manufacturing center. Shown here are 30-story turbine towers ready for deployment, along with nacelles, which weigh 412 tons.

Less than a decade ago, the offshore wind industry was a tantalizing dream in the Humber Region of England, a three-hour train ride north of London.

Today, the region is the hub of a booming offshore wind sector that represents more than 7 billion pounds of investment, thousands of jobs and opportunity for hundreds of local small businesses.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, EDC Chairman Anthony Sapienza and Wind Energy Center Director Paul Vigeant led a trade mission to the Humber Region last week to get a first hand view of how the industry is transforming once-struggling cities along the Hull River Estuary.

The cities of Hull and Grimsby, which are part of the Humber region, were like New Bedford in many ways. Hull, a city of about 250,000, had been the whaling capital of the United Kingdom. Grimsby, with 95,000 inhabitants, was the center of the nation’s commercial fishing industry until Iceland extended its claim over the cod fishery out to 200 miles, essentially excluding Britain’s fishermen from fishing in the best waters for cod.

Both communities had been economically stagnant and felt forgotten by more thriving parts of the country until the offshore wind industry began to stir, thanks in part to government policies encouraging renewable wind to complement the UK’s oil and natural gas industries, centered near Aberdeen.

Today, the Humber Region is the focus of England’s growing offshore wind industry, which leads the world in offshore wind power production, as well as in plans for new wind farms. A new Siemens blade manufacturing facility in Hull already has 800 workers and will will employ a total of about 1,000 by year end. Grimsby, where Dong and E.On have significant presences, has become has become the center of operation and maintenance for offshore wind farms, creating 400 jobs, with an estimated 1,100 by 2025.

The region has drawn more than $9 billion dollars, at the current exchange rate, in offshore wind-related investments, with Grimsby alone seeing $38.7 million over the past three years.

With the UK legally bound to supply 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the total offshore wind investment is only expected to rise. Nationwide, the sector is expected to bring upwards of $142 billion in investments by 2023.

This has already provided opportunity for Humber Region companies within the supply chain, some of which have been started by former fishermen who now provide specialized help and trained employees for the new industry.

In addition, colleges and universities are training engineers to work within the new industry, and training organizations update the skills of existing and future wind turbine technicians.

The UK last month had its first full day of energy generated without the aid of coal. As the country moves toward a future powered increasingly by renewables, offshore wind is expected to bring continued prosperity to The Humber.

Mark O’Reilly, CEO of Team Humber Marine Alliance, right, talks about the new Siemens turbine blade manufacturing plant in Hull with New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell.

 

 

New Bedford poised to light the future with offshore energy

As Massachusetts’ offshore wind industry begins ramping up, New Bedford is in position to become its nerve center. And that’s not just a parochial view of people in the city. “New Bedford is critical because of the investment in the Marine Commerce Terminal,” said Bill White, senior director of offshore wind for the publicly funded Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which manages the terminal.

By Jennette Barnes

This is the year when offshore wind in Massachusetts goes from a lobby to a full-blown industry, and New Bedford is ready to play a key role.

By the end of June, three companies — two based in Denmark and one in Rhode Island — are expected to get their hands on bid requirements for the state’s first ocean wind farm. A landmark state law requires it.

Signed last summer, the law makes the nation’s biggest state commitment to offshore wind to date, requiring electricity distribution companies — Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil — to buy long-term contracts for at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power in the next decade, enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes. The companies have to solicit bids jointly by June 30 for the first project, which must provide at least 400 megawatts of power.

The mandate to buy wind power represents a victory for the three suppliers that have already won federal lease auctions for separate wind development areas starting about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard: Deepwater Wind of Rhode Island, DONG Energy of Denmark, and Vineyard Wind, which has been acquired by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, also of Denmark.

Shortly after Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law, they closed their lobbying group, Offshore Wind: Massachusetts. They had lobbied lawmakers to the tune of $198,000 in 2015 and $169,000 in 2016.

Their goal achieved, the three went their separate ways and started getting into competitive mode, according to Erich Stephens, chief executive officer of Vineyard Wind, who said, “We all sort of returned to our corners, I guess you could say.”

After surveying the sea floor, taking borings, and measuring winds, they are getting ready to write their bids. The process will require a yeoman’s effort in engineering and financing.

This is when the competition starts to ripen, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said in February.

Not until June will interested parties get a glimpse of a timeline for the bidding process. That schedule should be included in the electric companies’ request for proposals, according to Kevin O’Shea, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

As the law gives birth to the state’s offshore wind industry, New Bedford is poised to be its nerve center. And that’s not just a parochial view of people in the city.

“New Bedford is critical because of the investment in the Marine Commerce Terminal,” said Bill White, senior director of offshore wind for the publicly funded Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which manages the terminal.

The $113 million state-funded terminal spans 26 acres of waterfront property at 16 Blackmer St., just inside the hurricane barrier.

White said he expects the winning bidder will lease the terminal as a staging and launching point for the installation of turbines. That’s a safe bet, because all three offshore wind companies signed an agreement to that effect with Baker’s administration in September.

Although New Bedford could be the center of an emerging industry, things will take time, White said.

“We’re talking about a multibillion-dollar heavy industry,” he said.

In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed that his state commit to building 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to power 1.25 million homes.

As more states pursue offshore wind, suppliers will gain confidence that Massachusetts’ first project will not be a one-off deal, and the industry should grow over the next decade, White said. What’s more, once it reaches critical mass, the economics could tip the scales toward manufacturing certain components in the United States rather than overseas, he said.

The Department of Energy Resources, in concert with the state Attorney General’s Office and the electric companies, asked interested parties to submit suggestions by March 13 for what the RFP might include. They were asked how much time they would need to develop proposals, how many megawatts of capacity the initial solicitation should require, what documentation of cost bidders should have to provide, and more.

The three offshore wind companies bring varied experience.

More than 15 years after Cape Wind — still billed in Google search results as “America’s First Offshore Wind Farm” — began to spark major opposition in 2001, Deepwater Wind opened the actual first-in-the-nation commercial offshore wind farm, off Block Island. It has five turbines and began operating in December.

Headquartered in Providence, Deepwater opened a New Bedford office Feb. 10, led by Matthew Morrissey, who founded and managed the now-shuttered Offshore Wind lobbying group backed by all three companies.

Deepwater’s chief executive officer, Jeffrey Grybowski, a lawyer, worked as chief of staff in the 2000s to then-governor of Rhode Island Donald Carcieri. Chris Van Beek, the company president, is an engineer and former executive with Heerema Marine Contractors, an offshore oil and gas construction company in the Netherlands. Deepwater’s primary owner is D.E. Shaw, an international investment company.

DONG Energy, which bills itself as “the global leader in offshore wind,” has installed 1,000 offshore wind turbines. It formed in 2006 from six Danish energy companies. It has an office in Boston, opened March 6.

The company’s North American general manager, Thomas Brostrøm, moved to the United States over the summer of 2015. He told The Standard-Times the company is excited about the prospect of developing an industry up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

“We would never come over here to build one project,” he said. “We are here to build an industry.”

Over the last quarter-century, offshore wind turbines have advanced dramatically, he said. The company announced March 15 it was decommissioning the world’s first offshore wind farm, Vindeby, which began operating in 1991 with 11 turbines. Seven of today’s largest offshore turbines can generate as much electricity in a single year as Vindeby produced in its entire lifespan, Brostrøm said.

The company’s Massachusetts project is called Bay State Wind. Last year, DONG Energy sold a 50 percent ownership stake in Bay State Wind to New England utility company Eversource.

The Danish government has a 50.1 percent ownership stake in DONG Energy, according to the company website. “DONG” is an acronym for the Danish words for “Danish oil and natural gas.”

The third company, Vineyard Wind (previously called OffshoreMW), is owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, a fund management company in which the managing partner is a former DONG Energy executive, according to the company website. Affiliated company Copenhagen Offshore Partners is building wind developments off Germany and Scotland, according to Erich Stephens, chief executive officer of Vineyard Wind.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners handles European pension investments, and about half of those investments are in offshore wind, he said.

Vineyard Wind recently opened an office in the Bank of America building in downtown New Bedford.

Vineyard Wind has been working in concert with Vineyard Power, a nonprofit group of about 5,000 Martha’s Vineyard residents, a partnership that allowed the company to get a discount on its development lease, according to Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power. His organization signed an agreement with Vineyard Wind in 2010 that formalizes that relationship, he said.

Asked if he thinks the state might intend to spread the wealth across the three companies, Andre said the state wants transparent competition and the lowest price. Part of the controversy over Cape Wind stemmed from the lack of competition, he said.

Asked if he would like to see advantageous pricing for Vineyard residents, he said, “That would be an aspiration.”

Stephens said now that Vineyard Wind’s surveying work for the towers is done, the company plans to do additional surveying this summer to find the best route to lay cables to bring the power ashore. Cables would be buried about 2 meters beneath the ocean floor, he said.

Asked if the partnership with Vineyard Power gives his company an advantage, he said it does in the sense that they have been well received by the community. “It could help us avoid missteps,” he said.

As for the work that the industry could bring for local residents, much of it will initially be in trades, such as welding and electrical, to assemble and maintain the turbines. White, of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, said his European colleagues have told him not to over-promise on jobs.

Likewise, Morrissey said companies will begin making local investments with the overall growth in business volume. If turbine manufacturers like General Electric and Siemens have enough business in the area, doing more of the work here could make sense, but getting to that point would take years, he said.

“It’s not like we’re talking about a factory coming here,” he said.

For the first wind project, White said large turbine components would probably be shipped to the Marine Commerce Terminal, where they would be assembled and perhaps painted.

Blades would likely be affixed to the hub at sea, he said. Each turbine would have an elevator inside and would require a significant amount of electrical work, he said. Behind the hub of a wind turbine is the nacelle, which houses the generator and sometimes space for a worker to stay overnight.

When it comes to the finer details of installation, White said, “each developer may have their own secret sauce.”

Morrissey estimated that permitting and financing for the first project would last into 2019. Construction could start around 2021, and if the timeline goes as expected for future rounds to bring the state up to 1,600 megawatts, construction on the second project could start around 2024, he said.

Representatives from the electric companies and the Department of Energy Resources are expected to evaluate and rank the bids. The clean energy law, An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, calls for the department and the Attorney General’s Office to jointly select an independent evaluator to ensure a fair and transparent bid process, “not unduly influenced by an affiliated company,” a provision that may be particularly relevant now that Eversource has a 50 percent stake in Bay State Wind.

Follow Jennette Barnes @jbarnesnews.

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