Massachusetts and Crowley Move Forward with State’s Second Wind Port

Salem wind port
Salem's wind port facility will open in 2026 and can support floating and fixed-bottom turbines (Crowley Wind Services)

Published Feb 26, 2024 7:33 PM by The Maritime Executive


Massachusetts in partnership with Crowley Wind Services is moving forward with the effort to redevelop an industrial site in Salem into the state’s second wind port. In addition to expanding capacity to support the development of the state’s wind programs, they envision it as a regional center that will be one of the few sites able to support the construction and installation of floating offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine.

Crowley purchased the property in the historic city of Salem in 2022 as part of the plan to transform the site of an oil- and coal-fired power plant into a wind port facility.  They have been working since 2022 to transform the site of a former plant and lay the foundation to support the wind port development. The power plant closed in 2014.

Massachusetts’s state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) acquired 42 acres on Salem Harbor as the next phase in the development. Five acres, including the port’s existing deep-water berth, were transferred to the City of Salem.

“Adding the Salem Port to its portfolio, along with the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal and the Wind Technology Testing Center, will further elevate Massachusetts as a global leader in the offshore wind industry. This partnership with the City of Salem and Crowley will deliver another port built specifically for offshore wind,” said Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey.

Crowley’s Wind Services business unit will start construction in 2024, strengthening the site infrastructure to accommodate heavy machinery and equipment. The project also includes the construction of a second state-of-the-art ship berth and the upgrade of the city berth. They will also oversee the implementation of dredging activities to enhance the harbor channel. The port is projected to open in 2026.

Crowley will manage the site redevelopment and improvements and then serve as the terminal operator, entering into a lease agreement with MassCEC for the ongoing utilization of the property as an offshore wind marshaling port with priority for offshore wind projects serving Massachusetts. The City of Salem has leased the berth and its acreage for the same purpose. Besides operating vessels and terminals, Crowley will provide supply chain management, construction engineering, and project management services, and operations and maintenance solutions.   

Massachusetts’s first dedicated offshore wind port is the New Bedford Wind Commerce Center, which is also owned and operated by MassCEC. The terminal is unique in that it is a multi-purpose facility designed to support the construction, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects, as well as handle bulk, break-bulk, container shipping, and large specialty marine cargo. It is currently leased to Vineyard Wind, one of the first large offshore wind farms under construction in the United States.

The MassCEC Wind Technology Testing Center, located in Charlestown, Massachusetts,?provides a full suite of certification tests for turbine blades up to 90 meters in length. It uses the latest wind turbine blade testing and prototype development methodologies to help the wind industry deploy the next generation of land-based and offshore wind turbine technologies.