Details of Vineyard Wind's offshore wind bid unveiled
Vineyard Wind on Friday unveiled details of its offshore wind proposal centered on Bridgeport, an initiative that would create "thousands of jobs" and "help make offshore wind a statewide industry," the company said in an announcement.
The "Park City Wind" proposal comes as the New Bedford, Mass.-based company bids into Connecticut's request for proposals for offshore wind projects alongside Ørsted and Eversource and Mayflower Wind. The state said it is preparing to make a decision next month.
“Our commitment to Connecticut is significant,” Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Thaaning Pedersen said in a statement. “We see a future with thriving ports in both New London and Bridgeport and manufacturers in every corner of the state working to literally lift this industry off the ground in the U.S. If Park City Wind is selected, the jobs and economic opportunities created by this project will be available in the region for decades to come.”
Vineyard Wind, which owns leases in waters south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, would plan to transform Barnum Landing, an underused part of Bridgeport Harbor, into a manufacturing and staging facility, Pedersen said in a call with reporters. After the construction phase, Vineyard Wind would turn it into "a long-term hub" for at least 25 years for workers servicing the offshore wind operation.
Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, submitted five different projects in response to Connecticut's request for proposals, from 400 megawatts to up to 1,200 megawatts, the equivalent of powering 600,000 homes annually, Pedersen said.
"... Park City Wind could generate upwards of $1.6 billion in direct economic benefits and create as many as 12,000 direct, indirect, and induced full-time equivalent (FTE) job years across Connecticut," the release stated.
Among other partnerships, Vineyard Wind's proposal calls for partnering with Mystic Aquarium and the University of Connecticut on researching the impact of noise and other marine construction activities on North Atlantic right whales and other marine species, Pedersen said. Commercial fisheries also will be studied, according to the release.
“The investment that Vineyard Wind is making in better understanding how to maximize the environmental benefits of this technology in design, installation and operation is extraordinarily important," Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium, said in a statement. "Vineyard Wind understands that the question is not whether ocean wind technology is beneficial; it is how to make it more beneficial for the whole ecosystem.”
Over the last 18 months, offshore wind has been rapidly growing in the United States, with states from Virginia to Massachusetts, announcing procurements, Pedersen said.
In Connecticut, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is seeking proposals "from providers of energy derived from offshore wind facilities that are Class I renewable energy sources" for as much as 2,000 megawatts in total, states the request for proposals issued in August. DEEP has received proposals from three bidders, according to Kristina Rozek, department director of communications.
The bids were due Sept. 30. Rozek said the agency is working diligently to be able to make selection decisions in November.
Vineyard Wind, Ørsted and Eversource, and Mayflower Wind, a joint venture of Shell New Energies and EDPR Renewables North America, submitted the bids. Mayflower's bids included 800 megawatt and 400 megawatt proposals, The Day reported.
Ports in high demand
Ørsted and Eversource, which held a groundbreaking this week for its new office on Bank Street in New London, have submitted proposals as part of its Constitution Wind project, 65 miles from the New London shoreline.
"Following up on the selection of our Revolution Wind project by the state and our investment to turn 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,” Ørsted North America President and Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind CEO Thomas Brostrøm said in the announcement at the end of last month.
Vineyard Wind is "watching with great interest" as Ørsted and Eversource negotiate with the Connecticut Port Authority on the plan to upgrade State Pier into a hub to accommodate the offshore wind industry.
With states looking into offshore wind energy "up and down the Eastern seaboard," Vineyard's CEO said that his company sees the need for several ports to be developed for staging and construction — and even more facilities for the manufacturing, operation and maintenance — of wind farm components. Pedersen said there are "very few ports that don't sit behind bridges or other obstruction, and Connecticut is very fortunate that it actually has two such ports": New London and Bridgeport.
"We would need to work with all the ports that are being made available," he said, and his company would make an effort in a public-private partnership to develop new assets. If New London were available, he said his company could see it being used for this project and potentially others.
"We expected to be a significant player in this industry and both New London and Bridgeport are interesting to us," he said. "We know there is another tenant in New London and we're following that with great interest but in the big picture, we need to develop more of these port facilities ..." He said the company thinks Bridgeport is an "excellent starting point."
The Connecticut Port Authority has been under scrutiny in recent months. Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, announced in a news release Friday that he requested a second public hearing on the Connecticut Port Authority, in light of a "whistleblower's" comments to the news media.
Last month, state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, also called for another hearing.