NEW BEDFORD, MA – There is no question that May, 2021 was an amazing month at the Port of New Bedford. It marked two milestones within 30 days.
On May 11, news broke that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had announced their record of decision for Vineyard Wind 1.
The verdict? A green light for the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind project.
“Today’s Record of Decision is not about the start of a single project, but the launch of a new industry,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen. “Receiving this final major federal approval means the jobs, economic benefits and clean energy revolution associated with the Vineyard Wind 1 project can finally come to fruition.” (READ VINEYARD WIND’s full statement here.)
Meanwhile, on May 20, NOAA Fisheries announced that the port remained the highest value fishing port in the nation – for the 20th consecutive year.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell commented, “Commercial fishing and the businesses that support it make the Port of New Bedford the economic engine of Southeastern Massachusetts, and a leading food source for America.” (TAKE A DEEP DIVE HERE.)
To state it simply, May, 2021 just may be remembered as the month when everything changed at the Port of New Bedford. And, for pandemic-weary residents, the good news came just as the nation was widely seen as turning the corner on the world-wide Covid-19 crisis.
There’s no doubt that maritime activity in both the commercial wind energy and commercial fishing industries is gearing up for a period of explosive growth. And, the New Bedford Ocean Cluster has some news of its own to share.
Started as a Port of New Bedford initiative, the New Bedford Ocean Cluster is now a free-standing non-profit agency all its own.
A Board of Directors has been created to help guide the cluster and port through the years ahead. Xodus Group, the global energy consultancy firm, will still manage the New Bedford Ocean Cluster.
However, as an independent entity it will become that much more nimble to adapt to changing circumstances and seize new opportunities as they arise in the offshore wind energy industry, as well as other maritime interests.
The cluster is pleased to introduce these Board of Directors members for the very first time:
John Bullard will serve as President of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster Board of Directors
Other members are:
Keith A. Decker, Chief Executive Officer: Blue Harvest Fisheries
John Quinn, Assistant Dean for Public Interest Law & External Relations: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford
Edward Anthes-Washburn, Director, Business Development: Crowley Maritime
Anthony R. Sapienza, President of the Board of Directors for the New Bedford Economic Development Council
Jennifer J. Menard, Vice President, Economic and Business Development, Interim: Bristol Community College
Chris Rezendes, Chief Business Officer: Spherical Analytics
Dale Leavitt, Professor Emeritus – Marine Biology & Aquaculture Extension Specialist: Roger Williams University
Michael Quinn, Co-Owner: Quinn Fisheries, Inc.
The New Bedford Ocean Cluster is modeled after innovative information clusters associated with ocean port cities word-wide. Its direct forebear is the Iceland Ocean Cluster. Other clusters in the United States include the New England Ocean Cluster and the Long Island Sound Ocean Cluster.
Each seeks to align the assets of port communities with the maritime future. They are designed to help existing marine-based enterprises navigate the possibilities of tomorrow when commercial fishing, blue technology, aquaculture and offshore wind energy launch from the same shores.
The focus in New Bedford is the offshore wind energy industry as it is just in its infancy. However, innovative ideas in every field of marine activity are welcome at the table.
If you’d like to learn more, or align your business, service or organization with the New Bedford Ocean Cluster, contact information can be found here.