By Steve Urbon
Bay State Wind officially cut the ribbon on a downtown office Thursday, joining two others in a show of confidence that New Bedford will become the hub of the wind energy business in Massachusetts.
Bay State Wind is a partnership with the Danish energy firm Ørsted, formerly Danish Oil and Natural Gas, or DONG, and Eversource. The office is at 628 Pleasant St.
Ørsted North American president, Thomas Brostrom, said that the company has gone out of the oil and gas business and is now 100 percent clean energy.
They will now enter the competition for a state-guaranteed market for 2,000 megawatts of wind power to be delivered to Massachusetts customers. The others are Vineyard Wind and Deepwater Wind, which also have offices in the city.
Bay State Wind officials announced that the firm is making a $25,000 gift to the New Bedford Wind Energy Center. That brought applause from the about 30 attendees, politicians, business leaders and wind energy players.
Craig Dutra, who has held many positions in the community in both for-profit and non-profit organizations and is well known, has been hired by Bay State Wind as its community liaison.
Speakers including Mayor Jon Mitchell stressed again and again that New Bedford, with its location and new South Terminal, is poised to dominate the wind energy industry. “They will have to be in New Bedford,” said the mayor, because the city will offer the entire range of what wind energy companies will need, similar to the fishing industry and the textile industry before that.
Mitchell said that the city intends to be “the first among equals with some strong cards to play.”
“The Port of New Bedford is the hub of the commercial fishing industry on the East Coast, and we are positioning ourselves likewise to become a center for offshore wind energy in the years ahead,” said Mitchell. “The establishment of an office here by one of the industry’s leaders, Bay State Wind, is another important step forward in this effort.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” Mitchell said, six years in fact. State Rep. Paul Schmid, D-Westport, who represents part of New Bedford, told Brostrom and Eversource’s Ken Bowes to know that people in this community “know how to work, want to work, and like to work.”
This December, as a part of the state’s request for proposals process, Bay State Wind will submit a bid to develop Massachusetts’ first utility-scale offshore wind farm. Anchored by Ørsted as the global leader in offshore wind, and Eversource as New England’s premier transmission builder, Bay State Wind will propose an ambitious project to provide cost-effective green energy and economic benefits to the Commonwealth, the companies said in a release.
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