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Three offshore wind bids in Massachusetts plan major operations in New Bedford, Salem

 A GE Haliade-X turbine stands in the Vineyard Wind 1 project area south of Martha’s Vineyard.
Worldview Films
A GE Haliade-X turbine stands in the Vineyard Wind 1 project area south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The wind bids are in.

Avangrid, SouthCoast Wind, and Vineyard Offshore have submitted bids to three states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island — participating in a new regional selection process for offshore wind projects.

One additional company, Ørsted, has submitted bids only in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Projects selected for construction will be located in the federally designated wind areas adjacent to Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind, 15 to 30 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Each has made public commitments to work in specific ports.

Alicia Barton, CEO of Vineyard Offshore, said her company’s project would stage construction and maintenance out of Massachusetts, fabricate steel components in Rhode Island, and bring power ashore in Connecticut.

“All of those things taken together, again, show that there's a good footprint for this project to create good paying union jobs in all three states,” she said in an interview.

Vineyard Offshore is proposing a 1,200 megawatt project called Vineyard Wind 2. The company would base construction out of Salem and operations and maintenance out of New Bedford.

For its part, Avangrid plans to stage turbine components for installation out of Salem and operations and maintenance out of New Bedford and, in Connecticut, the city of Bridgeport.

In partnership with another company, Avangrid has also pledged to provide seed money to open a crane manufacturing facility in New Bedford.

The company has submitted two proposals: New England Wind 1 (formerly Park City Wind), at 791 megawatts, and a combination of New England Wind 1 and New England Wind 2, totaling 1,870 megawatts.

Ken Kimmell, Avangrid’s chief development officer for offshore wind, said one big selling point is the “shovel-ready” status of New England Wind 1.

“We're in an extraordinary level of project maturity,” he said in an interview. “We are shovel ready, having acquired all of our state, local and regional permits and just a couple of months away from getting our major federal permits.”

Federally designated offshore wind lease areas in southern New England.

SouthCoast Wind has proposed a 1,200-megawatt project. The company plans to stage turbine components out of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Its bid says SouthCoast Wind will choose a construction port for crew transfer, minor equipment, and materials at a later date.

In a written statement, Rebecca Ullman, director of external affairs for SouthCoast Wind, said the company looks forward to releasing more information about its bids “in the weeks and months to come.”

All of the bids contain redacted sections.

New Bedford figures signifcantly

New Bedford would see significant business activity from each of the proposals.

Mayor Jon Mitchell told CAI that SouthCoast Wind, like the others, has told the city it will base operations and maintenance out of New Bedford. In fact, he says, SouthCoast Wind is the only project that intends to do both the marshaling of turbine parts and operations and maintenance in New Bedford.

Mitchell says overall, he wishes the city had gotten more from the bids, but operations and maintenance provide the most long-term jobs.

“We would certainly have liked to have gotten more of the pie,” he said. “That's just me, though. … We're always reaching for as much as we can, but I think what we got are the most important things to get.”

Some companies say their proposals could work as either regional or state-by-state bids.

The three states are looking to procure up to 6,800 megawatts of power combined.

That’s more than eight times the size of Vineyard Wind and would require about 500 turbines with today’s technology.

At that size, the states could award contracts to several bidders.

In Massachusetts, electric companies will participate in evaluating the bids, as they have in the past. This year, for the first time, the state, rather than the electric companies, will take the primary role in selecting the winning bids.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are scheduled to announce winners August 7. Connecticut’s request for proposals says the state will announce winners sometime in the third quarter.

This story has been updated.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.