State, City, Cape Wind Continue Discussions

Cape Wind, New Bedford near deal
By Charis Anderson

A Cape Wind official said Wednesday the project’s developers are in ongoing discussions with the city about using New Bedford as a staging port for the project and hope to make a formal announcement soon.
“I’ll tell you, that’s an announcement we want to make, and we’re working very hard with (the city) to make that a reality,” said Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind.
Rodgers spoke in New Bedford during a seminar on offshore wind projects held during the opening day of the Commercial Marine Expo, a major marine trade show being held in the city this year for the first time.
The two-day event at State Pier is expected to attract several thousand visitors to the city.
Cape Wind Associates LLC is proposing to build 130 wind turbines over a 25-mile stretch of Nantucket Sound; once operational, the wind farm will produce enough power to cover about three-quarters of the electricity demands of Cape Cod and the Islands.
Project officials first confirmed New Bedford was being considered as a possible home port in April just after the project was approved by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Quonset Point in Rhode Island is also under consideration.
“We haven’t ruled (Quonset Point) out yet,” Rodgers said on Wednesday. “I think we would really like to make New Bedford work.”
The project is expected to create 600 to 1,000 jobs during its assembly and ocean construction stages and at least 50 permanent, Cape Cod-based jobs, according to Rodgers.
Mayor Scott W. Lang said the city is fully committed to making New Bedford the home port for Cape Wind.
“We are doing everything possible to make sure that becomes a reality,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we have put the foundation in place that this is going to be a great opportunity for the city.”
The state is working closely with the city on any permitting and infrastructure requirements that need to be addressed to move the project ahead, Lang said.
“Governor Patrick is very enthusiastic about the possibility that New Bedford could host offshore wind-related port infrastructure,” said Ian Bowles, state secretary for energy and environmental affairs.
“We continue to evaluate the technical considerations coming out of our analysis of Massachusetts ports.”
New Bedford Economic Development Council Executive Director Matthew Morrissey said the city was working closely with the developers and the state to better understand the requirements of the offshore-wind industry in general and the Cape Wind project specifically and then to match those requirements to sites in the port of New Bedford.
“What is at stake here is New Bedford’s opportunity to become the state’s — and indeed New England’s — offshore renewables logistics and operations hub,” he said.
“That opportunity, over time, will result in thousands of jobs that our people, our skilled work force today, can obtain. That is absolutely within reach.”
June 10, 2010 12:00 AM
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