HARTFORD, CT — Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen is bullish about Bridgeport and its potential to become a hub for offshore wind development.
“I think people have seen that this is an opportunity to develop a clean and affordable resource in New England, something that can replace the retiring coal and nuclear facilities,” Pederson said Friday in a conference call with reporters.
The “Park City Wind” project Pederson wants to build in the city is one of three proposals to bring wind offshore. Connecticut has a standing order for 2,000 megawatts of clean energy.
Pederson and Vineyard Wind are developing the first large-scale 800-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.
“We have developed up to five different project sizes,” Pederson said.
One of those options would generate 1,200 megawatts to generate enough electricity to power 600,000 Connecticut homes.
The project, which involves an investment of $85 million, could generate upward of $1.6 billion in direct economic benefits and “create as many as 12,000 direct, indirect, and induced full‐time equivalent job years” across Connecticut.
Pederson said marine infrastructure needed for these projects is in short supply on the east coast. He said they want to turn Bridgeport Harbor into a working waterfront.
He said the wind farms won’t be visible from the Connecticut coastline, but will be large renewable projects that will require maintenance for more than 25 years.
“Park City Wind” is one of three companies vying for Connecticut’s 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind.
Eversource Energy and Orsted, the Integrated energy company based in Fredericia, Denmark, and Mayflower Wind, backed by Shell and EDP Renewables North America.
Eversource and Ørsted have committed to invest $57 million in upgrades to New London State Pier to accommodate the industry and create a world-class offshore wind staging hub in Connecticut. The upgraded facility will create a secure revenue stream for the state and spur local economic development and job creation in New London and the surrounding communities.
“Since 2015, our team has been focused on bringing affordable, renewable energy to Connecticut, a major opportunity for the state’s clean energy future and economy,” Thomas Brostrøm, President of Ørsted North America and CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, said last month. “Following up on the selection of our Revolution Wind project by the state and our investment to turn New London State Pier into a world-class offshore wind center, our proposed Constitution Wind project will be delivered by the industry’s leading experts to ensure the project is achievable, sustainable and successful for Connecticut.”
Mayflower Wind wants to use Massachusetts as its base and has experience with 10 wind projects, including Atlantic Shores, under development in U.S. federal waters off the coast of New Jersey. The document released with its bid, which was to describe the savings and investments the company plans to make, was heavily redacted.
Pederson said he didn’t think New London had an advantage over Bridgeport because Bridgeport Harbor is more inland.
“The cost and the complication with maneuvering these relatively large components around are more on getting them to and from shore,” Pederson said. “Once they are on a barge, if you have to barge them 50 to 100 miles extra, it really doesn’t matter that much,” he added.
He said Bridgeport and New London are both well situated for offshore wind because they are not obstructed by bridges. That means the vessels will be able to go in and out and service these wind farms easily.
“It’s not a question of New London or Bridgeport, it’s more a question of New London and Bridgeport,” Pederson added.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they are working to make a decision in November.