As Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's time in office nears its conclusion on Jan. 5, one of his last official acts is in support of clean energy, a topic that has been a top priority for his administration.
Specifically, Baker announced $180 million in grants on Dec. 20 to the Offshore Wind Ports Challenge to buttress development of wind power in the state's ocean waters, according to WCVB-TV in Boston.
Baker, along with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and state Energy Secretary Bethany Card, unveiled the funding recipients inside the Technology Testing Center Large Blade Facility in Charlestown.
The Offshore Wind Ports Infrastructure Investment Challenge is a competitive funding opportunity that began earlier in 2022 to expand and develop port infrastructure at three key harbors along the Massachusetts coast: New Bedford, Somerset and Salem.
"The 2050 decarbonization roadmap makes offshore wind a centerpiece of our approach to achieve net zero," Card said.
Funds Critical to Achieving Clean Energy Goals
The grant money from the Baker administration will go to a variety of firms that are working on the infrastructure to make Massachusetts' clean energy goals a reality.
"My project is taking 29 acres on the New Bedford waterfront [and demolishing] an old power plant, the smokestack, and four above-ground storage tanks that held over eight million gallons of fuel," explained Andrew Saunders, president of New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal, "and turn it into a staging area [for] the blades, the towers, the nacelles and people that have to go offshore and actually do the construction."
Shoreline Marine Terminal, another company based in New Bedford, works to support infrastructure for commercial fishing, according to its owner, Michael Quinn, who explained that his firm is "trying to tie that into the offshore wind industry now, as well, so we'll have a commercial shipyard that will be supporting 90-ft.-long commercial fishing vessels, tugboats, and offshore crew transfer vessels."
Jennifer Daloisio, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a state economic development agency dedicated to growing its clean energy sector, told WCVB-TV that the $180 million in new funding is a critical investment in offshore wind ports infrastructure.
"These projects will each serve an important role in the offshore wind supply chain that will help prepare Massachusetts for a future powered by wind," she said. "Significantly, that future also brings high value jobs, a more inclusive workforce, a broader adoption of innovative clean energy solutions, and a growing future for this industry."
Seven Bay State Projects to Benefit
The following is a list of the Offshore Wind Ports Challenge projects and the funding amounts announced by Baker's office Dec. 21:
- Crowley Wind Services and the city of Salem are due to receive $75 million for the conversion of a former coal-fired power plant industrial property in the harbor town north of Boston into a world class purpose-built offshore wind marshalling port. The work includes expanding the public-private partnership with the state to ensure that the facility will be available to support Massachusetts' offshore wind and climate goals, with MassCEC and Salem taking ownership of the site and leasing it back to Crowley to run the wind port.
- MassCEC's New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal was granted $45 million for facility improvements to ensure it can accommodate the current and future offshore wind projects.
- Prysmian Projects North America will receive $25 million for the redevelopment of a portion of the Brayton Point Marine Commerce Center in Somerset to construct a manufacturing facility and terminal for marine high voltage cables.
- The New Bedford Port Authority was awarded $15 million to improve its North Terminal 1 port facility, with bulkhead and terminal space, and the modernization of port-wide operations to efficiently manage increased vessel traffic.
- Another $15 million goes to New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal for the redevelopment of the former Sprague/Eversource power plant, transforming the legacy site into a modern offshore wind port supporting operations and construction activities, with new heavy-lift quayside, laydown space, and berthing for feeder barges and service operations.
- The Baker administration gave $4.6 million to Shoreline Marine Terminals for the build-out of terminals with new bulkheads, docking space, lift piers, fueling capacity, and other infrastructure which will support the day-to-day operations of offshore wind crew transfer and for vessel maintenance and repairs in the port of New Bedford.
- A total of $360,800 went to Gladding Hearn Shipbuilding for shipyard upgrades to enable the local facility in Somerset to fabricate and repair aluminum high-speed crew transfer vessels for Vineyard Wind, Mayflower Wind, and other offshore projects.
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