Re-Port of New Bedford March 2021

By Steven Froias // For the New Bedford Ocean Cluster

NEW BEDFORD, MA – March came in like a lion at the Port of New Bedford, with huge news pertaining to the future of offshore wind energy. 

As we shared in the New Bedford Ocean Cluster mid-month report, What’s next in New Bedford, “…the onset of the offshore wind energy industry in the U.S. from New Bedford, Massachusetts will represent nothing less than a huge mobilization of marine industry resources seldom seen outside of wartime.”

While it may have read as a bit hyperbolic, news since then has only reinforced that characterization.

On Monday, March 29, the Biden Administration announced that it was declaring The New York-New Jersey Bight* the nation’s Offshore Wind Energy Zone, as reported in this New York Times story

City of New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell put these developments into perspective for the city. The first commercial scale wind farm off the coast of the United States, Vineyard Wind 1, will be staged from the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. His statement reads:   

“The Biden Administration’s designation today of new wind energy areas in the New York Bight leaves no doubt that America’s offshore wind industry is now in full gear. 

“New Bedford has much at stake in these developments. For nearly a decade, we have been positioning ourselves to become a leader in offshore wind, and will soon host the deployment of the Vineyard Wind project, America’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm. 

“As the industry rolls out, New Bedford will support wind farms not only off Massachusetts, but in the Bight as well, leading to the creation of well-paying jobs for our residents. 

“At the same time, most of the seafood caught in the Bight, by dollar value, is landed in New Bedford, America’s top commercial fishing port. 

“We are grateful that in determining the boundaries of the new wind energy areas, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has taken pains to balance the interests of the wind and fishing industries based on the best available scientific data. While some tailoring of the boundaries may be necessary to avoid the most heavily fished areas, the announcement represents substantial progress after years of inaction. 

“We look forward to our continued work with the Biden Administration to launch an industry that will be a pillar of America’s response to climate change, while preserving the established interests of commercial fishermen.” 

As always, preparation is key to seizing opportunity. The New Bedford Ocean Cluster is designed to identify and help organize the region’s resources – both public and private – for the offshore wind energy industry.

Contact the cluster at renewables@newbedfordoceancluster.org for more information as this next chapter unfolds. That is being written right now as President Biden unveils his huge infrastructure plan, which will focus on clean energy projects across America. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren at the new Covid-19 vaccination site at the Port of New Bedford (pictured above). The facility will open in early April to vaccinate essential seafood industry workers.The site is located at the former Environmental Protection Agency’s Dewatering Facility on the waterfront, recently turned over to the New Bedford Port Authority by the EPA. MORE INFO HERE

NOAA Fisheries announced the allocation of an additional $255 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. DETAILS HERE

Route 18 in New Bedford provides an invaluable means of access for our port’s seafood processing industry. A new MassDOT project will redesign the stretch from Elm St. to Coggeshall St. Read all about it at THIS LINK.

*The New York-New Jersey Bight is geological identification applied to a roughly triangular indentation along the Atlantic coast of the United States that extends northeasterly from Cape May Inlet in New Jersey to Montauk Point on the eastern tip of Long Island. The bight results from the fact that the Atlantic coast of New Jersey, running approximately north-south, and the southern coast of Long Island, running approximately east-west, form a rough right angle with its point at the mouth of the Hudson River.The sea floor of the New York Bight consists largely of continental shelf. More info here.