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Charlie Baker announces $180 million investment in offshore wind infrastructure

The money will help workers build the ships and components necessary for offshore wind farms.

The New Bedford Harbor shows a mix of industry, fishing, pleasure boats and renewable energy. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker announced $75 million in funding for infrastructure projects in New Bedford related to offshore wind farms. Dina Rudick/Boston Globe

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Tuesday announced $180 million in funding for a variety of projects that will work to build up the state’s offshore wind industry. 

Speaking at a press conference at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Baker and other officials outlined the current state of Massachusetts’ clean energy industry. 

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done over the past 8 years, but it remains an urgent priority for the Commonwealth, for the country, and frankly, for the world,” Baker said. “I do believe, however, we are very well positioned to be a major player in this space.”

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Some of the $180 million is coming from the economic development bill passed this November, while federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act will fund the rest of the investment.

The largest portion of the investment, $75 million, will go towards Crowley Maritime in Salem so that it can convert an area once used for coal storage into a wind terminal. Components for wind turbines will be assembled there, before being used in new turbines near Martha’s Vineyard. 

The Prysmian Group, an Italian company working with Massachusetts and the town of Somerset to manufacture submarine cables at Brayton Point, will receive $25 million. The cables created there will bring electricity generated offshore to the mainland. 

The MassCEC New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will benefit from $45 million in funds allocated for facility improvements. $15 million will go to the New Bedford Port Authority so that it can expand its north terminal. Another $15 million is earmarked for the redevelopment of offshore construction and operations support at the New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal. The Shoreline Marine Terminal in New Bedford will get $4.6 million for new berthing space, bulkheads, and lift piers. Finally, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset will receive $360,000 for shipyard upgrades, allowing it to better repair and manufacture ships used in offshore wind operations. 

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“To all of our partners up and down the coastline of Massachusetts, from Salem to New Bedford to Somerset, it’s going to be a very exciting future for our communities, for our commonwealth, for our ratepayers, who will be able to find and access energy that makes sense for them long into our future,” Polito said. 

MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio also highlighted the organization’s 2022 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which was released this week. The report shows that the clean energy industry in Massachusetts is growing faster than the state’s overall economy, she said. The industry contributed more than $14 billion in economic activity last year, she added.

There are slightly more than 104,000 clean energy workers in the state, according to Daloisio. The clean energy industry has grown 73% since 2010, adding more than 44,000 jobs. This accounts for more than 14% of all jobs created in the state during that time period, she said. 

Although the pandemic led to a loss of about 20,000 clean energy jobs in the summer of 2020, about 65% of those have come back, as of this September.

“Offshore wind is the centerpiece of the state’s clean energy and climate strategy. From the completion of this facility in 2011 to our New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in 2015, the commonwealth’s long term vision has firmly established the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts, and will enable us to reach our goal of a minimum of 15 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2050,” Daloisio said. 

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