Even though there is only one small existing offshore wind farm in the Northeast, the 30-MW Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, two announcements this week highlight the growing economic importance of the region’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.
Big contract for Wood
Global engineering services company Wood announced that it will be serving as the technical advisor for the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project, which consists of 84 9.5-MW wind turbines that will be installed off the coast of Massachusetts in the coming years.
Wood will act as the lender’s technical advisor on behalf of Vineyard Wind LLC, owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables. As part of the scope of work on the four-year contract, Wood’s clean energy team will provide technical advisory services including an assessment of design, construction and operation strategies as well as commercial arrangements to support the debt financing and tax equity funding process for the project.
Bob MacDonald, CEO of Wood’s Specialist Technical Solutions business, said that the offshore wind industry in the U.S. “is poised for tremendous growth as we transition towards a more diverse energy supply mix.”
New port in Connecticut
In related news this week, the governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, announced plans to revitalize one of the state’s ports, the State Pier in New London, so that it can serve as central hub for the New England offshore wind industry.
The Connecticut Port Authority and terminal operator Gateway are partnering with Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, on the new deal that will redevelop State Pier into a world-class, state-of-the-art port facility through combined public-private investment of $93 million to upgrade its infrastructure and heavy-lift capability.
The State Pier harbor development plan calls for a two-phased effort at State Pier. First, a three-year development project will upgrade the facility infrastructure to meet the heavy-lift requirements of Ørsted and Eversource’s offshore wind components. Second, following the successful completion of the project, Ørsted and Eversource will enter into a ten-year lease agreement granting their joint venture the use of State Pier for wind turbine generator assembly and staging.
“The Connecticut Port Authority was established to grow the state’s economy and create jobs by investing in the maritime industry,” Scott Bates, chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority, said. “In the short-term, our local workforce will upgrade State Pier into a world-class port facility, and our regional manufacturing workforce will build components for our new partners in the offshore wind industry. Longer-term, the increased capacity of State Pier will continue to expand the flow of cargo into New London, which will extend our state’s economic reach even farther, benefiting workers throughout Connecticut.”
Out with the old, in with the new
Last weekend, demolition crews assembled in Somerset, Massachussets to take down the cooling towers at the defunct Brayton Point Station, the last remaining coal-fired power plant in the state. The two 500-foot towers came down in a matter of seconds. You can watch a video provided by the Massachussets State Police of the falling towers at the bottom of this article. The company that owns the site, Commercial Development Co, said it plans to use the facility to support offshore wind farms, coming soon to Massachusetts.
Wood will be an exhibiting at POWERGEN International, where offshore wind and all other forms of power generation will be a topic of discussion. The show is set to hit New Orleans, November 19-21, 2019. Learn about the event here.