Offshore Wind Developers Agree To Use New Bedford Terminal For Staging Area

The $113 million New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as seen in April 2015. (Simón Rios/WBUR)
The $113 million New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as seen in April 2015. (Simón Rios/WBUR)

The effort to create wind power off the coast of Massachusetts is taking a step forward.

Three companies that plan to construct offshore wind farms south of Martha's Vineyard signed a letter of intent on Tuesday to use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to stage and deploy their future projects.

The terminal, with a $113 million price tag, was built under former Gov. Deval Patrick's administration with the intent to stage the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

However, in March of 2015, Cape Wind pulled out of its contract to lease the terminal after utilities companies Eversource and National Grid ended their purchase agreements.

Now, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration says DONG Energy, Deepwater Wind and OffshoreMV, which all have leases to federal waters off the Massachusetts and Rhode Island coasts, have committed to a two-year lease at $5.7 million per year.

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating says the projects will create thousands of new jobs.

"We will serve as a model, right here, in this city, in this region about how to get it done," Keating said. "Because we need infrastructure and we have here in New Bedford — the premier facility for housing this new industry."

Baker says the agreement will help generate clean energy for the region.

"We have an opportunity to do something very significant and very important — not just for the South Coast, but for the commonwealth and for New England," he said.

Last month, Baker signed an energy bill which ramps up the state's reliance on renewable and alternative sources of energy. Specifically, it requires utilities to purchase 1,600 megawatts of wind-generated power over the next decade.

With reporting by WBUR's Steve Brown



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