Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray yesterday broke ground on the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which will become the first port in the United States equipped to support offshore wind turbine deployment. The new terminal will solidify Massachusetts’ role as a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.
“Investing in infrastructure just like this creates jobs now and a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation,” said Governor Patrick. “This is how Massachusetts claims its place as a hub for a new American industry.”
“With over 350 years of maritime history, New Bedford remains one of the most important commercial ports along the East Coast,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “By breaking ground on this major project, this multi-purpose terminal will not only provide the harbor with new shipping and cargo capacity but also support clean energy initiatives significant to not only this region, but our Commonwealth and country.”
The terminal project builds upon the Administration’s continued commitment to investing in infrastructure to create growth and opportunity, creating jobs now and strengthening the Commonwealth for the next generation.
“Not only will this development create local jobs and help to support a home-grown source of clean energy, it will produce environmental benefits for New Bedford Harbor,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).
This multi-purpose facility will also be able to handle high-volume bulk and container shipping, as well as large specialty marine cargo. The first-of-its kind in North America, the terminal will be engineered to sustain mobile crane and storage loads that rival the highest capacity ports in the world.
As part of construction, the project includes the dredging and removal of approximately 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, a significant environmental benefit to the city of New Bedford.
Offshore wind represents the largest potential new energy source for Massachusetts and for much of the East Coast. By some estimates, Massachusetts’ offshore wind resources could power close to half of the households in Massachusetts. The development of the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts can create a significant new industry in the Commonwealth to anchor the sector. The U.S. Department of Energy projects 43,000 clean energy jobs will be created in the offshore wind industry nationally by 2020.
“This event marks the birth of the offshore wind industry in the United States,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “Massachusetts is a good home base for this sector with major infrastructure investments like this one, an innovative business culture, world-class research centers, a skilled workforce and access to capital.”
The terminal, which will be located inside New Bedford Harbor and protected by the hurricane barrier, will be in close proximity to offshore wind planning areas along the East Coast that are under consideration for development. The federal government is leading an offshore wind permitting and leasing process in nine states, including Massachusetts, along the Atlantic Coast. That process is expected to lead to the construction of multiple projects, many of which could make use of the terminal, which has an estimated cost of $100 million.
“Fostering New Bedford’s emerging role as a leader in new maritime related industries such as wind and renewable energy and cargo transportation is vital to New Bedford’s economic revival and the creation of new jobs for area residents,” said Senator Mark Montigny. “The South Terminal project makes New Bedford the preeminent port on the East Coast for wind turbine deployment and short sea cargo transportation and will ensure that the New Bedford area becomes a leader in both industries thus providing long term economic benefits for the future.”
“This transformative development project will create hundreds of jobs in New Bedford, and position our community to take advantage of the growing green energy sector,” said Representative Antonio Cabral. “I look forward to working with the Patrick-Murray Administration to make this economic investment a reality.”
“I’m glad to see this kind of progress made on what I feel is the single greatest government investment in the City of New Bedford in the last century,” said Representative Chris Markey. “This is a credit to all of the federal, state and local partners who have contributed so much in the past two and a half years, chief among them Governor Patrick.”
“Governor Patrick, Secretary Sullivan, and the MassCEC have been terrific partners to the City of New Bedford,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “They have had the vision to see the unique advantages that give New Bedford a leg-up on the competition in the race to develop the offshore wind industry. The combination of their leadership, and our commitment as a community, have made New Bedford the odds-on favorite to become the birthplace of the industry in North America.”
“This represents a smart investment for our Nation,” said New Bedford City Council President Bruce Duarte, Jr. “This project gives the City of New Bedford an opportunity for many well-paying jobs for our residents as well as a new industry for our nation that will make us less reliant on foreign energy sources. I personally want to thank the Governor and his team for his vision on this well thought out project.”
“This project has the potential for the kind of economic impact our city hasn’t seen since the era of textile manufacturing. Careers in welding, electro-mechanical drafting, and all the associated service positions to go along with it,” said New Bedford City Councilor Henry Bousquet. “The fact that it’s good for our environment is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Today’s announcement is an investment in the future of New Bedford, the South Coast, and the State of Massachusetts,” said New Bedford City Councilor Joseph Lopes. “The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will provide this region with continued economic development opportunities.”
Press Release, May 8, 2013