Bay State Wind, the joint venture between global offshore wind leader Ørsted and New England’s foremost transmission builder Eversource, has signed a new agreement with EEW, an international leader in steel pipe manufacturing, to create a Massachusetts manufacturing facility to make offshore wind components.
Announced on Tuesday, Bay State Wind revealed that a new agreement had been signed with EEW to build and staff a Massachusetts manufacturing facility that would manufacture offshore wind components. Further, the agreement included Gulf Island Fabrication, a US-based global leader in the construction of offshore and onshore energy sector facilities. Upon completion, the new manufacturing facility will create approximately 500 annual construction jobs, plus a further 1,200 additional annual indirect jobs in the local community, forging a strong commitment between the Bay State Wind company and the local Massachusetts area.
“The US market, with Massachusetts and the Northeast at the forefront, has long been ripe for robust development of offshore wind energy,” said Christoph Schorge, Managing Partner of EEW Group. “We regard these first steps as a starting point of a long-term and sustainable approach in the US offshore wind industry and we are proud to enter the market with such a knowledgeable partner as Bay State Wind.”
Bay State Wind is both the 800 megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm that Ørsted and Eversource are building, as well as the 50/50 joint-venture company they created to do so. Bay State Wind was first announced back at the end of 2016 by then-DONG Energy (now Ørsted) as a potential 2 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm located 15 to 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, and received first approval from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in July of 2017. Earlier this year the two companies revealed not only that the first stage in their development of the Bay State Wind lease area would be the 800 MW Bay State Wind offshore wind farm, but also that they had partnered with Massachusetts-based NEC Energy Solutions to develop an energy storage solution for the offshore wind farm.
The importance of large-scale renewable energy projects such as Bay State Wind is first and foremost the development of more renewable energy capacity so as to minimize reliance upon traditional fossil fuels such as coal. However, it is similarly important to remember that large-scale renewable energy projects such as this can have tremendous local benefits as well, supporting hundreds of local construction and indirect supply hobs, as well as long-term maintenance jobs.
More specifically, Bay State Wind will not only create jobs for its own construction but will serve as the foothold for a larger North American offshore wind energy industry. The new steel manufacturing facility is not just a short-term pop-up store, but a long-term commitment and will result in lasting jobs for Massachusetts workers, providing employment for welders, blaster painters, steel fabricators, and other associated trades.
Further, Bay State Wind announced only yesterday that it was moving to build the 200 MW Constitution Wind offshore wind farm in the same lease area as its 800 MW project. Constitution Wind, however, would generate electricity for Connecticut, the state’s first offshore wind project.
“Constitution Wind will bring the most experienced, dependable partners together to help New England lead the way in North America’s renewable energy industry,” said Ørsted President of North America Thomas Brostrøm. “At Ørsted we are the global leader with 23 successful offshore wind farms developed across the world, representing 27 percent of worldwide offshore wind capacity. We are excited to combine that experience with Eversource’s longstanding local experience. And together we have unbeatable financial strength.”
Thanks to one lease area, there is now 1 GW worth of potential offshore wind energy under construction and with much more available for the region. According to a recent survey by Environment Massachusetts, the state has more offshore wind potential than any other state in the country — enough to power the state’s current electricity consumption 19 times over. Focusing development in the offshore wind energy industry will not only provide cost-effective electricity generation, but will support a burgeoning Massachusetts wind energy industry that will yield jobs and will provide business, economic, and educational benefits to local communities.
“Being able to bring the world’s preeminent steel manufacturer in the offshore energy sector along with Gulf Island Fabrication, a premier US fabrication company, to work on the Bay State Wind project is a tremendous honor,” said Thomas Brostrøm. “In addition to an unmatched record of safety, EEW has been a longtime partner of Ørsted’s which will make for seamless project management and a strong, trusting working relationship.”
“By teaming up with EEW and Gulf Island Fabrication, we are working to bring world-class offshore wind expertise to the US,” said Mike Auseré, Vice President of Business Development at Eversource. “It will allow us to play a vital role in bolstering the local economy and ensuring customers are always receiving the best return on their investments by our continuous efforts to keep energy costs low.”