Connecticut governor announces offshore wind plan

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont recently announced that the state and its partners have reached an agreement on a harbor development plan for State Pier in New London that will enable its revitalization and put in place the needed components to establish the region as a central hub in New England for the developing offshore wind industry.

The Connecticut Port Authority, the state’s quasi-public agency responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s ports and maritime industry, and terminal operator Gateway, are partnering with Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, on a new deal that will redevelop State Pier into a world-class, state-of-the-art port facility through combined public-private investment of $93 million to upgrade its infrastructure and heavy-lift capability. These upgrades will allow State Pier to meet the facility requirements of the offshore wind industry and will benefit the port’s long-term growth by increasing its capability to accommodate heavy-lift cargo for years to come.

“Connecticut’s maritime economy has significant potential to drive economic growth and create jobs across the state, and redeveloping State Pier is a central component to that growth,” Lamont said. “This new public-private partnership reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the state to increase procurement of offshore wind and make the economic expansion of our maritime economy a reality. We look forward to working with our new partners to position Connecticut as a leader in the offshore wind industry and expand economic opportunity throughout the region.”

The State Pier harbor development plan calls for a two-phased effort at State Pier. First, a three-year development project will upgrade the facility infrastructure to meet the heavy-lift requirements of Ørsted and Eversource’s offshore wind components.

State Pier in New London Connecticut. (Courtesy: State of Connecticut)

Second, following the successful completion of the project, Ørsted and Eversource will enter into a 10-year lease agreement granting their joint venture the use of State Pier for wind-turbine generator assembly and staging.

“The Connecticut Port Authority was established to grow the state’s economy and create jobs by investing in the maritime industry,” said Scott Bates, chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority. “For over a year, we have been working toward a vision where increased port activity drives economic growth and creates jobs throughout the state. This Harbor Development Plan brings that vision to life. In the short-term, our local workforce will upgrade State Pier into a world-class port facility, and our regional manufacturing workforce will build components for our new partners in the offshore wind industry. Longer-term, the increased capacity of State Pier will continue to expand the flow of cargo into New London, which will extend our state’s economic reach even farther, benefiting workers throughout Connecticut.”

This deal aligns with the Lamont administration’s plans to expand the use of carbon-free energy sources.

“We’ve worked closely with the Connecticut Port Authority, Ørsted, and Eversource to help realize the collective vision of bringing the offshore wind industry to New London,” Philippe De Montigny and Matthew Satnick, co-CEOs of Enstructure, Gateway’s financial partner, said in a joint statement. “We believe our partnership will yield strong long-term growth for the City of New London and the State of Connecticut. As the port operator for both New Haven and New London, we will also ensure that our maritime terminal operations continue to deliver best-in-class service for our conventional cargo customers.”

“(The) announcement lays the foundation for Connecticut to play a leading role in the United States’ fast-growing offshore wind industry and supports our transition from older, dirtier fuel sources to clean, affordable, carbon-free energy,” said Lee Olivier, Eversource executive vice president for Enterprise Energy Strategy and Business Development. “Our collaboration with the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Port Authority, the City of New London, and Gateway Terminal brings together the resources and expertise needed to redevelop the New London State Pier into a state-of-the-art offshore wind facility to help Connecticut reach its critical greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

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