Malloy announces $15 million investment at State Pier in New London

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New London — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday announced a $15 million investment at State Pier to be used for infrastructure improvements and to help ready the pier for future use by the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

Malloy made the announcement at a news conference at City Pier, where he was joined by Mayor Michael Passero, Port Authority Chairman Scott Bates and a mix of local and state officials.

Seven offshore wind projects are planned in the Northeast. Ports in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York are vying to host those businesses and an associated boost to the local economy from equipment and workers of the wind projects. State officials have said the pier could accommodate assembly of wind turbines and their bases while providing the space for staging the extremely large components for delivery to off-shore locations.

Related story: Investment in New London key in Deepwater Wind offshore wind pitch

“In the next 12 years, we expect to see 7 to 8 gigawatts of new, offshore wind power come online in the Northeast alone,” Malloy said. “With that new energy comes real economic opportunities for our region. As a result of these improvements, New London will be the perfect location to support the expansion of offshore wind. I have no doubt that the funding we invest today will have lasting economic benefits to the entire region in the years and decades to come.”

Passero said the funding will increase the competitiveness of State Pier against ports in New Bedford, Mass; Quonset, R.I.; Providence; and New York City. New London is in a strategic location in the Northeast, has a protected deep-water harbor with no height restrictions and a short transit to open sea.

“There’s been a lot of chatter about New London having the best assets and being in the most competitive position,” Passero said. “Certainly, having the governor come to New London speaks strongly about the state support for having that industry operate out of New London and providing this significant amount of money will send a message to private industry that New London should be the spot.”

Passero said the investment also will spur growth in marine businesses and help revitalize the downtown.

The funding, subject to bond commission approval on Friday, will provide for the demolition of selected structures, site improvements, stormwater treatment and drainage improvements, upgrades to increase laydown capabilities, construction of a heavy lift pad, improvements to load-bearing capacity and replacement of mooring dolphins.

The $15 million will be combined with more than $3 million left from a previous state grant and benefit both regular cargo shipping operations while improving the pier’s capacity for the wind power generation industry, Bates said.

“We’re going to invest these funds into making a facility that can handle both of those so that we can pivot one way or the other, or both,” Bates said.

He said a request for proposals from port operators will be advertised within the next two weeks, with an operator chosen by fall. Wind energy developers were among the companies to express interest in running the pier, Connecticut Port Authority officials have said. Logistec has run the operations of the pier for the last two decades.

The Connecticut Port Authority, created in 2014 to develop and market the state's ports and promote its maritime economy, oversees the operations of the State Pier. State Pier covers 30 acres with two piers, a deep-water channel and on-dock rail.  

“Governor Malloy has worked hard to rebuild Connecticut’s infrastructure as a way to create jobs and long-term economic growth,” Bates said. "Make no mistake about it, this is the most consequential strategic investment in State Pier in generations."

g.smith@theday.com

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