Ports up and down the US East Coast are chasing the wind as offshore (and onshore) wind generating projects gain momentum.
Northeast ports are positioning themselves to capitalize on the offshore wind bonanza that is beckoning from Maine to Maryland. While it isn’t quite the California gold rush of the 49ers, nonetheless it is a rush to get in early on a multi-billion dollar market. On March 29th, the Secretaries of the Interior, Energy, Commerce, and Transportation all met to announce a commitment to “establish a target to deploy 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of offshore wind by 2030, creating nearly 80,000 jobs,” with much of that tally coming on the East Coast.
At the moment, offshore wind power operations are in their infancy with only one up and running operation and another pilot program project. The Danish owned Ørsted operates the Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and also constructed a two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project. Notably, the first turbines to be installed in federal waters.
But this is only a fraction of what is in the pipeline. Ørsted, whose North American operations is jointly headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, has secured over 2,900 megawatts of additional capacity through five projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Ørsted‘s five project undertaking is just the beginning and building the port and manufacturing infrastructure to support the long term buildout of offshore wind power is paramount. Ports like Davisville Rhode Island and South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) are already vested to the process of becoming hubs for offshore wind power. But many other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic ports are also preparing for the economic blast from wind power.
Bonding Moment - $60 Million Quest for QDC
Perhaps the port leading the queue for wind power development is the Port of Davisville in Rhode Island. The Port of Davisville has already made a name for itself as one of the nation’s top auto ports and was also a key port for the staging for the construction of the first U.S. wind farm located off Block Island. But Davisville needs an infrastructure upgrade if it is to continue to be a leading port for offshore wind power development.
On March 2nd Rhode Island voters went to the polls to vote on seven ballot questions, including Question 7 which if approved would see the state issue $60 million in bonds to the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) for economic development activity, including $40 million for industrial site development.
For a number of months business leaders have been stumping for the question to be approved as QDC, which encompasses the Port of Davisville, has been one of Rhode Island’s most successful economic enterprises.
All 7 bond measures were passed by Rhode Island voters and while #7 was expected to be lucky with the formal tick of the box, a number of development projects can now kick into high gear.
Essentially, $20 million of the $60…
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