Port of New Bedford gets $50,000 from Vineyard Wind

Posted Nov 25, 2019 at 2:40 PM. Updated Nov 25, 2019 at 2:40 PM

NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Port Authority has received $50,000 from Vineyard Wind to help ready the port for offshore wind.

Port officials have heard that an additional 50 vessels could be coming in and out of the harbor each day during construction of the wind farm, according to Edward Anthes-Washburn, Port Authority executive director. He said the port will use the money to help identify ways to accommodate more boats, determine what new infrastructure might be needed, and figure out how the port can leverage its existing infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunity.

“We appreciate the partnership with Vineyard Wind,” he said in an interview.

Vineyard Wind said in a press release that the grant will support technical consultants and industry experts to conduct engineering studies necessary for growth and development along the waterfront.

Erich Stephens, chief development officer for Vineyard Wind, said Greater New Bedford is uniquely positioned to capitalize on offshore wind because of the city’s proximity to the lease areas, its skilled workforce, and its existing maritime economy.

Vineyard Wind was selected in May of 2018 as Massachusetts’ first provider of offshore wind energy. Its permitting has been held up by the federal government.

The 800-megawatt wind farm would be located about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Headquartered in New Bedford, Vineyard Wind is a 50-50 partnership between funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables.

Original story here.

Offshore wind training facility lands at MMA

Posted Nov 3, 2019 at 10:49 AM

BUZZARDS BAY — With the pop of a champagne bottle, a new offshore wind training facility officially opened for business off the docks of Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

State officials gathered at the Taylors Point campus late last month to launch the facility, which will train workers including welders, divers and electricians, as well as academy cadets, how to work on future offshore wind projects.

State and academy officials called the facility the first of its kind in the nation.

“This is the start of something that is going to be very, very big,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “It will ultimately affect job opportunities, not just here in Massachusetts, but in New England and all the way down the coast.”

It is expected that 250 to 300 people will be trained through the facility each year, according to Paul O’Keefe, vice president of operations at the maritime academy.

Located at the end of a pier at the edge of the campus, the training platform uses the same types of rails and ladders that would be found on a real turbine, O’Keefe said. A 64-foot Carolina Skiff has been modified to simulate work crew transfer to the craft, he said.

“In other countries you see just a swimming pool inside a building,” O’Keefe said. “We are trying to simulate the real thing.”

The training facility will follow the standards set by the Global Wind Organization, which is made up of industry stakeholders who set the training requirements.

Workers being trained through the facility will first undergo basic safety training. The six-day course will focus on first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at great heights and sea survival, O’Keefe said.

The heights portion of the course will take place in the academy’s newly constructed indoor climbing facility, and a sea survival course will take place at the crew transfer training facility at the end of the pier.

The academy has partnered with Relyon Nutec, the world’s largest provider of Global Wind Organization training, to help train instructors.

“This package we are doing here, we’re talking about jobs, energy and zero emissions — that sounds like a no-brainer,” the academy’s president, Rear Adm. Francis MacDonald, said. “But for some reason it has taken us a long time to get there in this commonwealth.”

The academy received more than $1.73 million in grants from the Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in support of the training facility and basic safety program.

The training facility will help increase the workforce for the offshore wind industry. That includes those who will work on the construction and operation of Vineyard Wind’s 800-megawatt project planned for 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.

A study from the Clean Energy Center estimates that in the next decade, offshore wind farms will create 2,000 to 3,000 jobs and generate as much as $2 billion in the region.

But Stephen Pike, CEO of the Clean Energy Center, said “finding the right folks” to work on offshore wind projects is still one big challenge facing companies in the industry.

“It is a brand new industry in the U.S.,” Pike said. “Essentially no one is qualified to do the work that these companies need done.”

The state has to do a better job at connecting businesses to workers and those workers to training resources, Pike said. That way, it will create a pipeline of workers, he said.

In explaining the vision for the new training facility, U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., quoted an iconic line from the movie “Field of Dreams.”

“Build it and they will come,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Keating believes there is potential for the state and the country to take a leadership role in offshore wind. But to do that, a greater investment must be made both in-state and nationally in the blue economy, he said.

During the next 30 years, the blue economy will be growing twice as fast as the global economy, Keating said. To tap into that now, he said, there has to be infrastructure in the ground, such as the new training facility.

“If we don’t have trained personnel for those jobs we are just not going to be successful,” Keating said.

Providing the tools to create more offshore wind jobs also will help fight climate change while providing well-paying jobs and preserving the ocean, Keating said.

“Let’s go forward,” he said.

Original story here.

Mayflower Wind wins Massachusetts’ second offshore wind contract

Posted Oct 30, 2019 at 1:22 PM. Updated Oct 30, 2019 at 3:52 PM

BOSTON — Mayflower Wind Energy has won the bidding war for Massachusetts’ second offshore wind contract.

The state’s electric companies selected the lowest-cost of Mayflower’s four bids, rather than ones designed to invest in port infrastructure or build a new manufacturing facility.

“When it was balanced on whole, this was the one that was most competitive on price and economic development,” state energy commissioner Judith Judson told reporters on a press call Wednesday. “Mayflower’s package for all their bids included significant economic development.”

Mayflower beat Bay State Wind and Vineyard Wind, both of which also submitted multiple bids with different selling points.

Electricity distribution companies Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil selected the winner in a state-supervised process created by Massachusetts’ 2016 energy diversity law, which required them to buy long-term contracts for at least 1,600 megawatts of energy from offshore wind.

Mayflower’s winning bid calls for 804 megawatts of generation capacity. Together with last year’s winning bid by Vineyard Wind for 800 megawatts, the state has fulfilled its procurement obligation under the 2016 law.

The companies have not yet signed contracts with Mayflower. Wednesday’s announcement begins the negotiation phase. The bid schedule calls for contracts to be executed by Dec. 13 and sent to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for approval.

Judson said the evaluators considered the proposals’ direct effect on the local economy, including the number of jobs they would bring, binding commitments they would make, and the overall scale and credibility of the offers.

“We are confident what they put forward in that bid provides significant economic benefits to Massachusetts and the SouthCoast region,” she said.

The federal approval process for Vineyard Wind’s 2018 winning bid has stalled, leaving the construction timeline for that project uncertain. How that delay could affect Mayflower remains uncertain.

Mayflower Wind Energy is a joint venture of the Shell oil company and EDP Renewables, which is part of the Portuguese energy company EDP (Energias de Portugal).

Original story here.

3 offshore wind bids released

NEW BEDFORD — We have three bidders for Round 2 of offshore wind.

The bid evaluation team for Massachusetts’ second offshore wind farm released bids Thursday from three familiar names: Bay State Wind, Mayflower Wind and Vineyard Wind.

As expected, their prices and certain other particulars have been redacted.

In New Bedford, which has sought to position itself as a hub for offshore wind, Mayor Jon Mitchell is eager to see the bidders commit to providing economic benefits for the region.

“It will be critically important that the evaluation team carefully weighs the economic development proposals in each of the bids and what they might mean to investment and job creation in New Bedford,” he told The Standard-Times in an interview.

The city is home to the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which will be a staging point for construction of Vineyard Wind 1, the wind farm that won a contract last year. Federal permits for that project are still pending, and the timeline has stretched beyond what Vineyard Wind anticipated.

This is the second solicitation under the state’s 2016 energy law, which requires electric companies to buy 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2027.

The request for proposals required each bidder to submit a bid for a 400-megawatt wind farm. They could also submit projects between 200 and 800 megawatts.

According to their bids or previous public statements, their bids are:

• Bay State Wind – 400 mw and 800 mw

• Mayflower Wind – 408 mw and three proposals at 804 mw each

• Vineyard Wind – 400 mw and 800 mw, with two options for the latter.

Mayflower Wind has said its three 800-megwatt proposals are customized to highlight different goals: Low-Price Energy, Infrastructure and Innovation, and Massachusetts Manufacturing.

Of the bidders, Mayflower is the only one that did not bid last year. Its wind farm would be located about 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, south of Bay State Wind and Vineyard Wind.

Last year, the evaluators surprised many observers by awarding a full 800-megawatt contract to Vineyard Wind, rather than splitting the business between two companies at 400 megawatts each.

Vineyard Wind has signed a lease to use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to stage construction of turbines. Last summer, the company said it would likely add Brayton Point as another staging location.

Three electricity distribution companies — Eversource, National Grid and Unitil — and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources comprise the evaluation team.

Original story here

Vineyard Wind submits bid No. 2

Posted Aug 23, 2019 at 3:07 PM

Vineyard Wind is bidding for another wind farm.

The company submitted a bid Friday for Massachusetts’ second solicitation for commercial offshore wind. Bay State Wind announced a bid earlier in the day.

Both companies made the announcements on their own initiative; the state plans to keep the names of bidders confidential until at least Aug. 30.

Vineyard Wind said it has proposed the required 400-megawatt option, plus two options for an 800-megawatt project.

“Vineyard Wind is very excited to submit these proposals, which offer significant job creation and port infrastructure investment opportunity for the region, while ensuring an attractive, fixed price for electric ratepayers,” Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said in a news release. “We look forward to announcing additional details on this exciting project in the weeks ahead.”

The proposed wind farm, dubbed Vineyard Wind 2, would be built in Vineyard Wind’s lease area, south of the Vineyard Wind 1 project. The design for Vineyard Wind 2 shows turbines in rows aligned east to west, with spacing of one nautical mile between turbines, according to the release.

In 2018, Vineyard Wind won Massachusetts’ first contract for commercial offshore wind. Construction was scheduled to start this year, but the schedule is now uncertain because the project has been delayed in the federal permitting process. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has said it wants to conduct a broad review of the potential effects of offshore wind on the East Coast, a decision applauded by the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a fishing industry group.

Confidential bids are due Friday, Aug. 23 for Massachusetts’ second solicitation. By Aug. 30, companies must submit public versions of those bids.

Original story here.

It’s time for ‘Summer Winds,’ the new art exhibition soaring into New Bedford

“The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea

It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me

All summer long we sang a song and then we strolled that golden sand

Two sweethearts and the summer wind”

– as sung by Frank Sinatra

Okay — “Summer Wind” by Ol’ Blue Eyes has little to do thematically with “Summer Winds” the kinetic outdoor public art installation coming to Custom House Square Park this July 1.

But there was simply no way State of the Arts was going to miss an opportunity to tip a fedora to the original Chairman of the Board.

The Chairman of the new Board, of DATMA — the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute — is Roger Mandle. And it’s hard to imagine that he lacks any of the romance Sinatra brought to the game of life since he and his associates are introducing the wild concept of DATMA and “Summer Winds” to New Bedford and SouthCoast.

DATMA is defined as a non-collecting “museum” dedicated to large-scale, site-specific art installations. It was founded in 2016 with a diverse, 16-member board of trustees led by Mandle.

His bio states that he has 40 years of experience in building museums around the world and is a major contributor to the STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education initiative championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he served as president.

If you need some context regarding what, exactly, a non-collecting “museum” dedicated to large-scale, site specific art installations actually is, you’ve come to the right place. Actually, let’s travel back to another time and place to explore the subject…

The Gates & “Summer Winds”

Back in 2005, New York City was still a little shell-shocked from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. It was a city that was still licking its wounds.

In the middle of winter, from Feb. 12 through Feb. 27 of that year, public art helped facilitate some desperately needed healing in a way that most initially thought improbable or even downright ludicrous.

Just over 7,000 deep saffron-colored nylon fabric panels were hung from ‘gates’ across 23 miles of pathway in Central Park. That’s it. Just colored fabric floating gently in the breeze

The world-renowned artists Christo Yavacheff and Jeanne-Claude, known jointly as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were behind The Gates, as the exhibit was officially called. Indeed, they had worked for decades to bring the project to Manhattan.

Kudos must be given to Michael Bloomberg, mayor at the time, for facilitating the project on behalf of the city (with the vigorous support of Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris). All billionaires aren’t created equally; some missteps aside, he was generally enlightened regarding the arts – and the value of the arts to New York City. Millions came to visit The Gates.

For everyone who experienced the grace and sense of tranquility this public art project brought to a city that really needed it — this writer included, who was living in New York at the time — The Gates will always represent a special moment in time.

The Gates alludes to the tradition of Japanese torii gates, traditionally constructed at the entrance to Shinto shrines. In 2005, people reclaimed a measure of faith … through a shared public art experience.

So, that’s the context of site-specific public art exhibition. Thankfully, many years away from 9/11, and in New Bedford, it’s a future written on the wind we’re embracing and making a shared creative space for in 2019. But like The Gates, it promises to be no less meaningful.

Silver Current Over Custom House Square Park

“Summer Winds” is a visionary project for the city, signifying a new vision of the city. Like The Gates, it will be a visual representation of a moment in time at precisely the right moment in a city’s history.

In this case, that moment is when New Bedford prepares to host the nation’s first attempt to launch a viable offshore wind energy industry. And for this moment, DATMA has recruited another world-renowned artist, Patrick Shearn.

Patrick Shearn and his outfit, Poetic Kinetics, are based out of Los Angeles. But they’ll be heading east to install “Silver Current” over Custom House Square Park this summer. In fact, Patrick has already been in New Bedford to prepare for this large-scale, outdoor public art exhibition that will bring distinction to the city.

“Silver Current” will be an 8,000-square foot kinetic net sculpture floating in the sky above the park from July 1 to Sept. 30 this year.

Press material explains that, “made out of ultra-lightweight metalized film, ‘Silver Current’ is the latest of the artist’s series of ‘Skynets’ that move and shimmer with the wind, from 15 feet off the ground to 115 feet in the air.

“The customized piece is comprised of approximately 5,200 linear feet of rope, 200 hand-tied technical knots, and approximately 50,000 streamers of holographic silver film on a monofilament net, forming an iridescent wind wave form. Harnessing available wind, the artwork rises high into the sky and gently cascades down again, undulating in a display that is striking from a distance and intimately immersive up close.”

“Silver Current” is a statement piece that will visualize the State of the Arts in New Bedford Now — and the state of the city itself. A city that’s embracing the future and unafraid to think large.

The larger “Summer Winds” collaborative effort will entwine many aspects of the city’s indigenous arts and culture. From kite flying — with a nod to New Bedford’s growing Guatemalan community, in which Festival Tipico de Guatemala is part of its heritage — to the annual Seaport Cultural District Artwalk outdoor sculpture exhibit, which this year has adopted the theme of “wind.”

And here’s the bottom line — even though it’s one that’s going to be floating above the horizon: thousands will experience this city because of all this effort. That’s the power of arts and culture; to bring a community and region together for a unique shared experience.

It happened in 2005 in Central Park. It will happen this summer in New Bedford.

And it will be a moment to seize and hold on to … before it’s gone with the wind.

Steven Froias blogs for the coworking facility, Groundwork! at NewBedfordCoworking.com. Email: StevenFroias@gmail.com.

BCC receives $200K for offshore wind training

Offshore wind training programs just got a boost in the SouthCoast. Vineyard Wind and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, on behalf of the Baker-Polito administration, announced six recipients of offshore wind workplace training grants at a news conference on Friday.

Recipients of the over $720,0000 in grants included Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, UMass Amherst, Adult Continuing Education- Martha’s Vineyard, and Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56 trade union.

“As we prepare for the construction and installation of offshore wind projects, these grants will help establish a network of critical training programs in the Commonwealth to support local workers as they build this new frontier for American energy,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement.

Speakers at the city’s Marine Commerce Terminal included politicians and representatives from MassCEC and Vineyard Wind, whose speeches all touched on their desire to make Massachusetts the epicenter of the offshore wind industry.

“This is an effort that started a while ago,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike, “and the entire focus of Mass CEC over the last 10 years in terms of offshore wind is to ensure that we make New Bedford, Fall River, Somerset, and the Cape and the islands really the focal point for the industry in the United States.”

Mass. sets specifics for second offshore wind procurement

Posted Mar 28, 2019 at 2:51 PM

BOSTON — The Baker administration and the state’s utilities are ready to go back to market and put another offshore wind contract out to bid.

The state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and electric distribution companies Eversource, National Grid and Unitil have filed documents with state regulators to initiate a procurement of up to 800 megawatts of offshore wind power, with the goal of executing a final contract by the end of 2019.

A 2016 law authorized up to 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power. Vineyard Wind secured the first contract and is advancing its 800 megawatt project.

The timeframe for the next procurement, which is subject to Department of Public Utilities approval, calls for bids to be submitted in August, project selection in November and execution of a long-term contract by the end of the year, enabling the venture that secures the contract to secure federal investment tax credits.

Administration officials say they are hoping to build on the new industry’s growing supply chain and aiming to ensure job creation at the local level — the bulk of wind energy development is happening in federally leased areas south of Martha’s Vineyard, with New Bedford angling to serve as a staging center.

The 2016 renewable energy law requires bidders to come in with lower prices in the second procurement, compared to the first, but officials said they are trying to build some “flexibility” into that process because they view Vineyard Wind’s winning bid as reflective of a very competitive price.

The offshore wind industry along the Massachusetts coast has the potential to be a more significant sector than “anybody ever imagined or appreciated,” Gov. Charlie Baker said this month, once energy-storage technology is further developed and deployed in tandem with clean energy from wind turbines.

The strategic opportunities to combine offshore wind and storage to make something greater than the sum of its parts are expected to be realized in the next three to five years, the governor said, in the early days of Massachusetts getting clean power from ocean-based wind.

“Storage has the capacity to turn wind into something that’s dramatically more important and significant than just another available energy source,” Baker said in his March 6 keynote address at a forum hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) in partnership with the State House News Forum.

The request for proposals (RFP) addresses energy storage, with DOER general counsel Robert Hoagland writing that storage could provide increased benefits and reduce the costs of integrating offshore wind power.

In the planned RFP, the distribution companies seek to procure at least 400 megawatts of power, but will allow proposals from 200 megawatts up to 800 megawatts.

During last year’s campaign, Baker signed an ELM pledge committing to ensure delivery of the full 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind authorized under the 2016 law — including the second 800 megawatt procurement by June — and to complete a study by May 2019 of an additional 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power that the Legislature authorized, but did not mandate, in a 2018 law.

Original story here.

New Bedford Port Authority to become fisheries rep to offshore wind

NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Port Authority has reached an agreement with all offshore wind developers operating in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island market to serve as the designated Fisheries Representative of the commercial fishing industry to each of the development companies, according to a news release.

Under federal guidelines issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management offshore wind developers must establish a fisheries representative to be the fishing community’s primary point of contact for communicating project-related concerns to the developer.

“The NBPA has been contracted by the developers to represent the interests of commercial fishermen, and to be a conduit of information between the developers and the commercial fishing industry as offshore wind farms are developed on the Outer Continental Shelf,” said Port Authority Director Ed Anthes-Washburn in a statement. “We’re very excited to have all three developers on board for this timely announcement. Adequate and sustained engagement with the fishing industry will translate into more conciliatory communications and interactions with fishing communities up and down the eastern seaboard as the offshore wind industry begins in the United States.”

In this role, the Port Authority will act as a central clearinghouse of information, convene stakeholders, facilitate dialogue between fishermen and respective developers, and advocate for ways to mitigate impacts of wind projects on commercial fishermen, according to the release. The Port Authority will also work with state and federal agencies to adopt policies and regulations needed to ensure the viability of commercial fishing operations.

“As the epicenter of commercial fishing in the Northwest Atlantic, New Bedford is the most logical place for the offshore wind industry to interface with fishermen,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who also serves as chair of the NBPA, in a statement. “The New Bedford Port Authority is a key organization to successfully facilitate the development of the offshore wind industry within a vibrant commercial fishing community.”

Offshore wind power won’t raise electric bills

Turns out, offshore wind doesn’t have to raise your electric bills.

Electricity prices for Vineyard Wind, set to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, will actually lower consumer electric bills by a small margin, generally 20 to 40 cents on a $100 monthly bill, according to documents made public Wednesday.

Some customers’ savings will be slightly lower or higher, depending on location and usage.

Massachusetts’ three electricity distribution companies finished negotiating their power contracts with Vineyard Wind and filed those contracts Tuesday with the Department of Public Utilities for approval.

The pricing stands in contrast with the previously proposed Cape Wind project, which at one point was projected to raise a typical monthly bill by $1.08.