NEW BEDFORD – Massachusetts will construct a new marine terminal in New Bedford, which will accommodate the delivery, assembly and installation of offshore wind turbines for the Cape Wind project.
Gov. Deval L. Patrick made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, seemingly dealing a blow to efforts by Rhode Island to woo Cape Wind Associates to Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown.
Patrick’s office said the $35 million New Bedford facility would host 600 to 1,000 jobs supported by construction of the Cape Wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The terminal is expected to open in 2012.
“In the first half of the 19th century, New Bedford produced the advanced fuel of the age – whale oil – and became known as ‘The City That Lit the World,’ ” Patrick said. “Now, with this new terminal, and this first-in-the-nation project, New Bedford will once again begin to light the world, but this time with the clean, renewable energy resource of the 21st century – offshore wind.”
The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will consist of a 1,200-linear-foot bulkhead with deep-water access and roughly 20 acres of surface space. The governor’s office said Cape Wind’s turbine supplier, Siemens, would become the terminal’s first tenant. The terminal will provide dock space for delivery and construction vessels as well as space to store the turbine parts.
State and Cape Wind officials touted the terminal as a way to spark economic growth centered around the emerging renewable energy industry.
“With this announcement, we take an important step toward transforming New Bedford from the Whaling City to the Wind Turbine City,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The same winds that once powered whaling ships will soon be harnessed to meet our energy needs in Massachusetts and around New England.”
When not in use for offshore wind projections, the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will be available for other marine commercial and industrial activities, such as bulk cargo and container shipping.
The container shipping operations would compete head-to-head with the Port of Providence, which recently received federal money to purchase two new cranes.
The announcement also appears to take Quonset Point out of the running to host Cape Wind operations. As recently as June a Cape Wind Associates spokesman had told The Standard-Times that the developer was still deciding between Quonset and New Bedford.
Cape Wind Associates had originally settled on using Quonset after evaluating six ports, but they became interested in New Bedford after heavy lobbying from Mayor Scott W. Lang, The Standard-Times reported in April.
But Quonset may still host a wind farm developer in the end. Providence-based Deepwater Wind has committed to establishing a staging area for its wind farms proposed off the coast of Rhode Island. The first farm proposed, an eight-turbine farm off Block Island, is tied up in court with a decision expected sometime next year. The second farm is years away from construction.