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    Vineyard Wind's first turbine arrived in New Bedford, signaling the start of a busy summer


    May 26, 2023 - Kathryn Gallerani, Standard-Times

     

      The UHL Felicity heavy load carrier will become a familiar site in New Bedford as it makes repeated trips from Portugal to deliver parts of Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind turbines to the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.

      Sections of the towers for the first turbine that will be assembled and then installed this summer arrived in New Bedford on Wednesday night. The turbine blades will start arriving in mid-June.

      Mayor Jon Mitchell said it takes persistence and teamwork to get to this point with the arrival of the first components for Vineyard Wind, and New Bedford is prepared to compete so that in the years ahead people can look back and say they made it happen and we're all better off for it.

      New Bedford mayor Jon Mitchell speaks at a press conference celebrating the first ship carrying turbine components for Vineyard Wind which arrived at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford.

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      “In that way, it's a great example of how one American city can move forward and thrive in the long run,” he said. “The work is not done, this is one project, and of course there's a whole lot being set up in the harbor, a whole lot of investment happening in New Bedford. But I will say it today and again, again and again, New Bedford is prepared to compete.”

      A busy summer as New Bedford takes delivery of turbines

      Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller said it’s exciting times for the project and the city, with GE’s technology about to turn northeastern wind into green, safe, American energy, producing power to 400,000 homes starting this summer and the next 30 years. When installed, the turbines will be as tall as three Statues of Liberty.

      He said it’s special to be able to mark this milestone as he looks forward to a busy summer in New Bedford.

      “These monsters are a very clear symbol that we are keeping our promises,” he said. “We are delivering offshore wind, we are delivering green power, and we are delivering the jobs,” he said. “The work here in New Bedford is a symbol for the green energy transition and the move from black, dirty fossil fuels to nice green energy.”

      Longshoremen work on attaching straps to one of three sections of the mast of a wind turbine which arrived aboard the first ship carrying turbine components for Vineyard Wind at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford.

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      New Bedford port built for offshore wind

      Jennifer Daloisio, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the owner and operator of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, said MassCEC has been laying the groundwork for the offshore wind industry since 2010 when it commissioned a port study to look at offshore wind ports that could be used for this industry.

      “It proudly stands today as the only port in the country purpose-built for the offshore wind industry,” she said. “It took really visionary and courageous leadership from partners in the community, government, the Legislature and industry to see that building this port was a critical step in bringing offshore wind to the U.S. and putting Massachusetts on the map as a leader.”

      She said communities along the coast have already begun to see the impact with economic growth and jobs from manufacturing to installation to operations and maintenance, and they are grateful to have longtime support from their partners in the trades.

      Workmen on the gangway are dwarfed by the first ship carrying turbine components for Vineyard Wind which arrived at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford.

      Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Unions, said it was a gamble to build the Marine Commerce Terminal to support offshore wind with credit to former Gov. Deval Patrick, but it was also about making sure that SouthCoast residents have access to career opportunities in the building trades to earn good family-sustaining wages and benefits with safe working conditions.

      “We negotiated a project labor agreement for the construction of this facility, and that continued with the legislation to move forward to make sure that there is a project labor agreement for this project,” he said.

      Jeff Lewis, the GE project director, said they are honored to have the opportunity to deliver the first components to the Port of New Bedford and install one of the world's largest offshore wind farms in the world.

      On the deck of the ship are shipping cradles that the towers for the 13-megawatts turbines are sitting in, and underneath there’s a hold for additional tower sections.

      Standard-Times staff writer Kathryn Gallerani can be reached at kgallerani@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kgallreporter.

      This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Vineyard Wind's first turbine arrived in New Bedford, signaling the start of a busy summer

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