The state has reached an agreement to develop an offshore wind facility at State Pier in New London.
Governor Ned Lamont announced Thursday that the Connecticut Port Authority 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 through a combined public-private investment of $93 million. The agreement is contingent upon receiving all the federal and state permits.
"Right here wind is going to be that bridge to our renewable future. Built here in Connecticut by Connecticut," Lamont said.
The State Pier harbor development plan calls for two phases.
The first is a three-year development project to upgrade the facility infrastructure. The second is for Ørsted and Eversource to enter into a 10-year lease agreement granting their joint venture the use of State Pier for wind turbine generator assembly and staging with an option to extend for seven years.
Then they'd launch an offshore wind project in federal waters south of Martha's Vineyard. Connecticut has procured 300 out of 700 megawatts.
"Once you build these turbines they'll be out there for the next 35 or 40 years we'll need crews to go out and maintain them. So it's very high skilled, very high tech," said Lee Olivier, Eversource’s executive vice president of enterprise strategy & business development, about the job prospects.
Thomas Brostrøm, president of Ørsted North America and CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, said the opportunity will create thousands of jobs in engineering, steel, welding and construction as well as creating positions in supporting industries like retail and health care.
"Offshore wind has been able to come in and revitalize the community in terms of manufacturing, having operational folks, technical folks, working in these coastal areas and I think that's what you'll see in New London as well," Brostrøm said.
Construction on State Pier is tentatively scheduled to start in January 2020, according to the governor’s office and it is expected to be finished in March 2022.
The Connecticut Port Authority will be responsible for oversight and execution of the development project.
The project calls for $93 million in capital expenditure commitments from multiple sources and the governor’s office said.
Ørsted/Eversource commits $35 million for State Pier infrastructure improvements, including $2.5 million to the CPA to offset operational costs during the three-year development project, according to the governor’s office.
The State of Connecticut will commit to $35.5 million for State Pier infrastructure improvements, including $25.5 million from the Connecticut Port Authority, which the governor’s office said was previously announced, and $10 million in new funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development through the Manufacturing Assistance Act.
The governor’s office said $22.5 million was previously committed for State Pier infrastructure improvements, and Ørsted/Eversource will honor that commitment.
The Connecticut Port Authority will receive annual fixed fee payments of $3 million and will be eligible for a one-time completion bonus for on-time completion of the development project in March 2022, according to the governor’s office.
Gateway will serve as the terminal operator and will still be responsible for a variable fee of 7 percent of its annual revenue -- the minimum annual guarantee is not in effect during the terms of this agreement – and 50 percent of dockage and wharfage fees.
"It turns out (State Pier is) maybe not that greatly positioned for the traditional cargo market because of the geography of it, but boy are we positioned to tap into this," said New London Mayor Michael Passero.
He's thrilled there is already an established pool of skilled manufacturers to dip into with Electric Boat and the manufacturing pipeline in the region.
Chris Bachant, a business agent for the New England Council of Carpenters, said they're already tapping into trade schools and fabrication shops for talent.
"Anybody and everybody that wants a new career -- not just a job, but a career -- this is the time," Bachant said.