EPA OKs Massachusetts offshore wind staging facility

A $100 million Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford, Mass., USA could be a key offshore-wind project-staging area for offshore wind turbines and blades.

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New England Cable News (NECN) reported on Nov. 20 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a $100 million Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford, Mass., USA, that could be a key offshore-wind project-staging area.

“The south terminal project holds the potential for the generation of jobs like nothing else that has materialized in this city in over a half-century,’’ New Bedford mayor Jonathan Mitchell said at a press event at the Bigelow Street boat ramp, just south of the planned 28-acre site, which will include seven acres of fill in the harbor.

According to the report, the terminal, which will be able to handle ships up to 500 ft/152m long and giant shipments like railroad cars and industrial boilers, is being touted as a potential hub for staging construction of offshore wind projects like Cape Wind or others that may be built in Rhode Island Sound and areas south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Wind turbine blades and towers and cables would be shipped to the pier and assembled there for delivery offshore.

The report says that Cape Wind, however, has opened discussions with Rhode Island, fearing the New Bedford facility may not be open soon enough to accommodate what Cape Wind is now saying will be a 2014 construction start.

Cape Wind has said it wants to use the New Bedford terminal as much as is feasible. The state has about $60 million of the $100 million cost lined up and authorized now, but several property owners in the area still need to agree to be bought out and relocated.

Mitchell told NECN that he’s confident that even if offshore wind project Cape Wind — which has been mired in lawsuits for years, and which could lose the support of the federal production tax credit that is now set to expire Dec. 31 — does not happen, there are of other offshore wind projects that could make good use of the marine terminal. “This is where the wind is,” Mitchell says, noting that just south of New Bedford lie areas estimated to represent 25 percent of all practical U.S. near-shore wind generation territory.

Click NECN for original report.