Connecticut set to become a national leader in offshore wind

By David Hardy and Joe Nolan
Connecticut is rapidly emerging as a national leader in the fight against climate change. Having set some of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation – pledging to achieve a 100 percent zero carbon electric supply by 2040 – the state is poised to take a significant step forward in achieving that goal.

Recently, Ørsted and Eversource executed a deal with the City of New London that will help the city grow alongside the emerging offshore wind industry. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, and New London Mayor Michael Passero, the redevelopment of State Pier from an underutilized asset into a modern, heavy-lift facility capable of supporting regional offshore wind development will move forward.The redevelopment of State Pier is a huge win for Connecticut, as the state prepares to launch the next, great maritime economy alongside Electric Boat’s state-of-the-art submarine construction. With this agreement, Connecticut is on track to become a regional epicenter for offshore wind staging and assembly, driving job creation and economic growth for decades to come.

The redevelopment of State Pier will deliver more than 400 good-paying construction jobs at a time when states are looking for help recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. And with construction on track to start as early as this summer, that could mean a significant number of new consumers ready to frequent local establishments, providing more support for struggling local businesses.

But the benefits of offshore wind extend beyond just the redevelopment of the State Pier. The creation of this new, world-class facility will also play an essential role in developing the U.S. offshore wind supply chain in the United States and will solidify the state’s position in an emerging industry that some analysts estimate to be a $70 billion opportunity capable of producing up to 83,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2030. State Pier’s location near several offshore lease areas presents a strategic opportunity to site wind turbine component assembly and fabrication facilities in Connecticut as the industry continues to grow, and we are working with industry leaders and our state partners to make State Pier the go-to hub for offshore wind in the Northeast.

Over our 10-year lease, Ørsted and Eversource will pay $77.5 million toward the redevelopment project and $2 million annually for the use of the facility, which will be used for wind turbine staging and assembly. However, State Pier will remain a state asset and be able to support a broad range of cargo types long after the initial offshore wind work is complete. In the short-term, Ørsted and Eversource currently have enough projects in development – including Connecticut’s first offshore wind farm, Revolution Wind – to provide clean, renewable energy to more than 900,000 homes in the Northeast. These projects will be assembled out of State Pier and will create more than 100 ongoing well-paying pre-assembly positions, as well as thousands of other indirect and induced jobs throughout the state and region.

Under the new agreement with New London, the city will be guaranteed at least $5.25 million in payments over seven years, or $750,000 annually, as Ørsted and Eversource use State Pier. Combined with Connecticut Port Authority and Gateway Terminal payments, the city will realize more than $1 million in new revenue to its general fund. Those figures for New London could grow as high as $9 million in funding should Ørsted and Eversource be awarded more offshore wind contracts by Connecticut that will be staged from State Pier. And, in addition to these benefits, Ørsted and Eversource have committed millions of dollars in community development to support the offshore wind supply chain and workforce development, maritime research, STEM education, and local fishing.

Ørsted and Eversource are excited for the State Pier project to kick off soon. With the continued support of our local and state partners and this new commitment in place, the future of the offshore wind industry in the state is incredibly bright. 2021 will be Connecticut’s year for offshore wind and it will set the state up for a vibrant, clean energy future for years to come.

David Hardy is CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. Joe Nolan is Executive Vice President of Strategy, Customer & Corporate Relations of Eversource Energy.