DEEP should choose New London with wind energy decision

It is not every day, or even every century, that a new industry arrives on our shores or in New London’s case, in our port. Offshore wind is the new maritime industry that cities like New London are poised to capitalize on as Connecticut and our neighboring states ramp up their responses to climate change. The City of New London has long faced economic challenges, limited tax revenue and even more limited economic development opportunities. Yet, as a community, we are hopeful that New London will once again be the home of a bustling maritime industry – this time a green energy industry.

We write to encourage the selection of Constitution Wind, the project submitted by Ørsted and Eversource, in this current Department of Energy and Environmental Protection solicitation. It presents Connecticut with an historic opportunity to be a leader in renewable energy while assuring a new industry will make their home in our harbor — providing thousands of jobs and economic opportunities for our state, revitalizing our port city of New London and expanding the local supply chain as the industry expands.

Selection of Ørsted and Eversource’s Constitution Wind bid also would bring needed funding to New London with an economic development fund dedicated to the redevelopment of brownfields – absolutely necessary for the revitalization of the city. In addition, $1 million would support energy efficiency in New London’s municipal and school facilities – important to reduce the city’s costs and for the city to do its part in addressing climate change.

As previously announced, Ørsted and Eversource have committed to fund $57.5 million of the $93 million State Pier infrastructure improvements. This means jobs for our city and region. The selection of Constitution Wind would mean even more jobs as we keep our port busy and at work. No other economic development opportunity compares to the transformational nature of becoming an offshore wind hub.

Our city is excited by the prospect of the development of the burgeoning offshore wind industry in New London and Connecticut. With northeastern states committing to 17,000 MW+ of offshore wind in the coming years, New London is well positioned to seize this economic opportunity. While New London’s State Pier offers many strategic advantages for offshore wind pre-assembly and installation, it is not inevitable that this industry develops in our harbor. We are in fierce competition with our neighboring states for this industry, and the selection of Constitution Wind for 800MW will solidify New London’s place in the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

Constitution Wind is the most advanced project in its development. It is fully engineered, and all ocean site surveying is completed — unlike competing projects. Selecting Constitution Wind is the responsible choice for DEEP. In southeastern Connecticut we can’t count on promises any more, we need to get to work for real. Constitution Wind is real.

We want to keep New London working – not with one project being assembled but with a continuous flow of projects assembled here. It is that momentum that will attract and secure this new industry in our port for years to come.

As DEEP considers proposals for the development of 2000 MW of offshore wind power, we urge DEEP to seize this historic opportunity for the people of New London and Connecticut. Choose New London by choosing Constitution Wind.

Michael Passero, a Democrat, is the mayor of New London. Sen. Paul Formica, a Republican, serves the 20th District, which includes New London.

 

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