Massachusetts Awards $180M in Grants for Wind Port Infrastructure

Massachusetts Awards 0M in Grants for Wind Port Infrastructure

Financing offshore wind farms in Massachusetts
Rendering of Crowley’s proposed port facility at Salem to support offshore wind development (Crowley)

Published 22.12.2022 18:33 by

The Maritime Executive

Massachusetts awarded funds to expand and develop port infrastructure at three major ports in support of the developing offshore wind industry. As part of the state’s Offshore Wind Ports Infrastructure Investment Challenge, a competitive funding opportunity that opened earlier this year, they announced a total of $180 million in grant awards, including $135 million that will go into port rehabilitation projects investing in the cities of New Bedford and Salem and the City of Somerset, and funding the state-owned New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for capital improvements.

“Massachusett’s path to Net Zero in 2050 will require significant investments in offshore wind energy, and today, with the $180 million Offshore Windports Infrastructure Investment Challenge, we’re taking another major step forward toward a clean energy future.” , said Governor Charlie Baker. During the presentation, they emphasized that the projects will have a significant impact on the further development of the sector and will create high-quality supply chain and employment opportunities for the state.

The outgoing governor, whose term ends in two weeks, also took the opportunity to highlight Massachusetts’ role in the evolving offshore wind infrastructure landscape. They highlighted MassCEC’s Wind Technology Testing Center in the Charlestown neighborhood of the City of Boston, which is one of only six facilities in the world capable of fatigue testing the latest blade technology. MassCEC is also developing the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as a purpose built offshore windport.

Vineyard Wind, one of the first offshore wind farms under construction in the United States, will begin leasing the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in January 2023. The project will be commissioned at the construction base port along with its contractors and suppliers for the offshore work to develop the Vineyard project. Mayflower Wind will also have a lease on the terminal and will use the facility for projects through most of 2027.

The largest of the new grants, $75 million, will go to Crowley Wind Services and the City of Salem for the conversion of a former industrial site at a coal-fired power plant in Salem to a purpose-built facility Offshore Wind Marshaling Port. MassCEC and Salem will take ownership of the property and lease it back to Crowley to operate the windport.

Two of the awards go to projects in Somerset. Prysmian Projects North America was awarded $25 million to redevelop a portion of the Brayton Point Marine Commerce Center to build a manufacturing facility and terminal for high-voltage marine cables. In addition, Gladding Hearn Shipbuilding will receive $360,800 towards shipyard upgrades to enable the local facility to manufacture and repair high-speed aluminum crew transfer vessels for Vineyard Wind, Mayflower Wind and other projects.

In New Bedford, the Port Authority received $15 million to upgrade its North Terminal 1 port facility with bulkheads and terminal areas and modernize port-wide operations to efficiently handle increased shipping traffic. There was an additional $15 million to rehabilitate the former Sprague/Eversource power plant in New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal. This will create the capacity to support operations and construction activities, with a new heavy lift quay, mooring areas and berths for feeder vessels and service operations.

Shoreline Marine Terminals will also receive $4.6 million to expand marine terminals with a new bulkhead, docking space, lift piers, refueling capacity and other infrastructure that will support day-to-day operations of offshore wind crew transfer and other vessels for the maintenance and repair of ships in the port of New Bedford. Also in New Bedford, state agency MassCEC will receive $45 million for facility improvements at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to ensure it can accommodate current and future offshore wind projects.

The award of these key infrastructure grants comes as the state also faces its latest challenge in developing its offshore wind resources. Avagrid filed with state regulators last week walk away from the Commonwealth Wind Project south of Martha’s Vineyard. The resulting inflation and changed market conditions made the price-taking agreements negotiated in early 2022 unfeasible and the project uneconomical. They are calling for the project to be rebid in spring 2023, releasing the company from its current obligation to develop one of the state’s first offshore wind farms. Governor Baker’s administration had rejected the company’s request to resume negotiations on the power purchase agreements.

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