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Crowley Maritime is Set to Build and Operate an Offshore Wind Port

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Image courtesy Crowley

Published Sep 30, 2021 3:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

The offshore wind farm developer Vineyard Wind has announced an agreement with Crowley Maritime to build and operate a major offshore wind terminal in Salem, Massachusetts. The port would serve Vineyard's “Commonwealth Wind” offshore wind farm proposal, and site development will move forward if the project wins a power-offtake award from the state.  

Vineyard Wind estimates that the Salem terminal would create up to an estimated 400 full time equivalent (FTE) job-years during construction and up to another 500 FTEs over the first five years for wind-turbine assembly and port operations. It would be the second offshore wind port in the state. 

The Commonwealth Wind project would use the site for turbine assembly and component staging prior to offshore installation. The activity would benefit from Salem's deep harbor and unrestricted height access; air draft is a major consideration during movement of partially-assembled towers. 

“By constructing the nation’s first purpose-built offshore wind port in New Bedford, Massachusetts has been leading the way. With a new offshore wind port in Salem, the Commonwealth can ensure that it is ready to face the demands of a rapidly growing industry,” said Lars T. Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “With both New Bedford and Salem capable of delivering port operations needed for offshore wind, the state can ensure that both the South Coast and the North Shore can benefit from the creation of new, highly skilled and good paying jobs."

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Crowley Wind Services will purchase a 42 acre site surrounding Salem Harbor Station, a gas-fired powerplant. It will also serve as the long-term offshore wind port operator for the site. Vineyard Wind’s partners (Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners) will serve as the port’s anchor tenants, using the property for the Commonwealth Wind project and other projects in their portfolio.

“For centuries, when Salem looked toward its future, it looked toward the sea. This site, in particular, has provided the electricity that has powered our community and our Commonwealth for generations," said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. "Today, with this announcement, that legacy can continue with a new focus on a clean energy future, based on renewable power and with a shared commitment to positive action to mitigate climate change."

Following the redevelopment of Salem Harbor, Avangrid Renewables will be the first tenant to use the site to assemble and deploy offshore wind turbines for Commonwealth Wind and other projects. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) will be the second tenant in line. 

Last week, Avangrid and CIP announced that they are restructuring the Vineyard Wind partnership to divide its assets. The Vineyard Wind JV will continue to own and operate the original Vineyard Wind project under joint control. Avangrid will take full ownership of the Commonwealth Wind lease area and the Park City Wind lease area, both located adjacent to the Vineyard Wind site. In exchange, Avangrid will pay CIP about $167 million. CIP will take full ownership of lease area OCS-A 0522, the furthest parcel from shore (and the parcel with the highest potential for power generation).