Ørsted offers $100 million to southeastern Connecticut in offshore wind bid

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Offshore wind company Ørsted and energy company Eversource have sweetened the deal in their bid to supply offshore wind power to the state, promising $100 million to a variety of local agencies and initiatives if it is chosen by the state.

Ørsted-Eversource announced Wednesday that if its Constitution Wind bid to supply up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power is successful, the partners are ready to commit funding for scholarships for community college students, money for research and monitoring at the University of Connecticut Avery Point and Mystic Aquarium and to a small business loan fund through the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer).

Other agencies to benefit would be energy improvements for low-income New London County residents through TVCCA and a Building Pathways apprenticeship program with Connecticut United Labor Agency.

Ørsted-Eversource was one of multiple energy ventures to submit proposals to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to provide Connecticut electricity from offshore wind farms. A decision is expected later this month.

Ørsted-Eversource is competing with Mayflower Wind, a joint venture between Shell New Energies and EDPR Renewables North America, and Vineyard Wind, a pairing of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables.

Ørsted-Eversource already was chosen to supply 300 megawatts to the state as part of its Revolution Wind farm in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. The two companies also are negotiating with state officials and the Connecticut Port Authority to finalize a $100 million public-private investment into New London State Pier as part of offshore wind development. Ørsted-Eversource has committed $57.5 million for upgrades at the pier.

The port authority met on Wednesday in New London with no significant update to ongoing negotiations.

New London Mayor Michael Passero said the city has negotiated with Ørsted-Eversource to provide the city with tax revenue lost from the State Pier facility, which is on state land. Those payments are contingent on a final deal on the Harbor Development Agreement.

The city also has backed Constitution Wind in its recent bid to supply energy and expects a host of community benefits if the project is chosen.

The city already was promised $1.5 million over a two-year period as part of Ørsted-Eversource deal to supply 300 megawatts from its Revolution Wind project to the state starting in 2022.

Constitution Wind project work, which includes the pre-assembly and shipping of wind turbines and secondary steel fabrication, is an additional $143 million investment in the state, Ørsted-Eversource claims.

Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region Executive Director Nancy Cowser said Ørsted approached her organization several months ago interested in stewarding regional economic development programs.

She said if Constitution Wind is successful in its bid, seCTer would be a fiduciary for funds to other agencies and the point of contact for regional economic development funds.

“We absolutely agreed to that and proud to do it,” Cowser said. “A lot depends if they receive an award and the size of the award. Some of the things we floated was small business loan programs for business that might benefit from offshore wind, things that have regional benefit. They came to us with a real community focus.”

Ørsted-Eversource said in a statement that its plan is to strategically invest in local port infrastructure, “renew the economically distressed City of New London, catalyze regional economic activity, including chain development, develop an offshore wind workforce from local skilled labor, and advance climate mitigation and resiliency.”

“We are delivering unmatched investments into Connecticut that will support Connecticut workers and drive economic activity and future growth while also helping the state meet its recently strengthened climate change mandates,” Thomas Brostrøm, president of Ørsted North America and CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, said in a statement.

“Following up on the selection of our Revolution Wind project and our investment to transform New London State Pier into a world-class offshore wind center, our proposed Constitution Wind project will be delivered by the industry’s leading experts to ensure the project is achievable, sustainable and successful for Connecticut,” Brostrøm said.

g.smith@theday.com

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