Connecticut Port Authority partners with wind energy company Ørsted and the electric utility Eversource on $93 million of improvements in New London.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday a plan to revitalize the State Pier in New London at a cost of $93 million. The state said it will “put in place the needed components to establish the region as a central hub in New England for the developing offshore wind industry.”
Funds will be used to strengthen the 30 acre terminal on the Thames River so that it can handle the heavy components of wind turbines.
The Connecticut Port Authority, the state’s quasi-public agency responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s ports and maritime industry, and terminal operator Gateway will partner with Bay State Wind, a joint venture between the Danish power company Ørsted and the New England electric utility Eversource.
Gateway, which also operates a terminal in New Haven, Conn. took over operation of the terminal this week, on May 1.
Ørsted operates a small 30 megawatt wind farm off of Block Island with five turbines and has committed to build 10 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, according to its website.
The funds will be used to upgrade the pier’s infrastructure and heavy-lift capability, after which Ørsted and Eversource will enter into a 10-year lease (with an option for a seven-year extension) granting them the use of State Pier for wind turbine generator assembly and staging.
While State Pier has been used for moving products such as steel, salt and lumber in the past, wind turbine components are expected to dominate port activity in the future.
Work on upgrading the pier is scheduled to begin in January following bid solicitation and permitting. It is expected to be finished in March 2022.
Ørsted and Eversource have committed $35 million in new capital expenditures for State Pier infrastructure improvements, including $2.5 million to the port authority to offset operational costs during the three-year development project. That’s in addition to a prior $22.5 million commitment.
The state of Connecticut will commit to the remaining $35.5 million for State Pier infrastructure improvements, including $25.5 million from the Connecticut Port Authority, and $10 million in new funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The project is contingent upon receipt of federal and state permits.
Patrick Bird, a managing director at Seabury Maritime, which acted as a transaction adviser to the Connecticut Port Authority, said, “This new redevelopment plan will put State Pier on a growth trajectory, making it a big step towards realizing the port’s economic expansion and fulfilling the strategic objectives of the port authority.”
Ørsted has been building offshore wind farms for 30 years and Thomes Brostrom, the company’s North America president, said the terminal will be used to support construction of the 700 megawatt “Revolution Wind Farm” it is building in a joint venture with Eversource. The wind farm will create enough electricity to power 150,000 homes and create an estimated 800 construction jobs. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2023.