The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a ratepayer funded research organization that works to accelerate the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the state, last week announced plans to conduct a study of potential offshore wind construction facilities in Massachusetts. The Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment will review underdeveloped waterfront sites in Massachusetts that could potentially be acquired and developed through private investment to support both near-term and long-term offshore wind activities.
According to Bill White, Director of Offshore Wind Development for MassCEC, the study will serve the needs of the various developers who have committed to building offshore wind in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts. DONG Energy, Deepwater Wind and Vineyard Wind currently hold leases that could be developed into offshore wind farms.
“A number of the developers in the supply chain for offshore wind have indicated that they are going to need additional locations to do various activities,” said White in an interview. Those activities include foundation staging, locations for operations and maintenance activities and even potential manufacturing sites down the road, said White.
The study will be conducted by Ramboll Environ, a global environmental and health consulting firm with 2100 consultants working across 130 offices in 28 countries. Ramboll has been very active in the development of the thriving European offshore wind industry – having participated in the design and/or construction of more than 65 percent of the offshore wind farms currently in operation.
According to White, the study will evaluate 20 locations in Massachusetts for their viability and will then provide a detailed engineering assessment – based on lessons learned from the EU – about the opportunity these sites hold and risks involved in developing them.
White emphasized that while the study is looking at specific sites in Massachusetts, he believes the information obtained in the study could easily be transferred to another state.
“Our purpose and our intent here is that this would be a roadmap for the industry,” said White, adding “the expectation would be for private investment in these sites.”
Massachusetts utilities are required to purchase 1600 MW of offshore wind power by 2027.