City of Salem Poised to Become Massachusetts’ Second Offshore Wind Port

October 4, 2021 by Dan McCue
City of Salem Poised to Become Massachusetts’ Second Offshore Wind Port
Preliminary rendering of proposed redevelopment of Salem Harbor (Credit: Vineyard Wind)

SALEM, Mass. – Vineyard Wind, the joint venture seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm off the U.S. coast has entered into a tentative agreement with the City of Salem, Massachusetts and the Crowley Maritime Corp. to build the state’s second port dedicated to serving the wind energy industry.

The agreement, which is projected to create as many as 900 jobs, is contingent upon the company winning an award by the state, which is currently evaluating offshore wind procurement bids.

“As offshore wind continues to expand, new purpose-built ports will be key to the success of this industry,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen in a written statement.

“By constructing the nation’s first purpose-built offshore wind port in New Bedford, Massachusetts has been leading the way. …. [but]  with a new offshore wind port in Salem, the Commonwealth can ensure that it is ready to face the demands of a rapidly growing industry,” Pedersen continued.

“With both New Bedford and Salem capable of delivering port operations needed for offshore wind, the state can ensure that both the South Coast and the North Shore can benefit from the creation of new, highly skilled and good paying jobs, something that will cement Massachusetts’ position as a leader in the new and growing offshore wind industry,” he said.

Vineyard Wind, which is based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, plans to erect 84 wind turbines about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts, and says that once completed the array will produce 804 MW of electricity, or enough to power about 400,000 homes.

As part of the project, which the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved in 2019, the company will run a submarine power cable from the wind farm to a site about 34 miles away in Cape Cod. From there, it will be connected to the New England power grid.

The project itself is jointly owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Iberdrola, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables.

Speaking of the proposal to create a second port in the state to serve the wind energy agency, Bill White, head of Offshore Wind for Avangrid Renewables, said “this partnership is a great example of how sites that once supported coal can be transformed into sustainable infrastructure to support the vital clean energy transition.” 

“Commonwealth Wind, [the company’s name for its offshore endeavour,] is a transformational project that will create good jobs, economic opportunity and clean electricity for Massachusetts, facilitated by this important partnership with the City of Salem and Crowley,” he said.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Crowley Maritime Corporation, through its New Energy subsidiary Crowley Wind Services, will purchase the 42 acres surrounding Salem Harbor Station, a natural gas-fired power plant. and will serve as the long-term offshore wind port operator for the site. 

Vineyard Wind’s partners will serve as the port’s anchor tenants, utilizing the property for the Commonwealth Wind project as well as other projects in the company’s portfolio.

The Commonwealth Wind project intends to use the site for turbine assembly and staging activities, utilizing the site to store and assemble components – including blades, nacelles, and tower sections – as they are prepared for offshore installation.  

Given Salem Harbor’s deep-water port and unrestricted height access to accommodate large-scale wind turbine installation vessels, Vineyard Wind sees Salem Harbor as a necessary addition to support the offshore wind industry within the Commonwealth and across the region.

“I am so pleased to welcome Vineyard Wind and Crowley Maritime here to Salem,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.  “For centuries, when Salem looked toward its future, it looked toward the sea. This site, in particular, has provided the electricity that has powered our community and our Commonwealth for generations.

“With this announcement, that legacy can continue with a new focus on a clean energy future, based on renewable power and with a shared commitment to positive action to mitigate climate change. In addition, this project would provide a significant expansion to our commercial tax base and create hundreds of clean energy jobs, right here in Salem,” Driscoll said.

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