$87 Million Deal Means Infrastructure Improvements for State Pier and Wind Turbine Industry Hub in New London
State Pier was the subject of a public information meeting on Tuesday, September 17, held by the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA). Infrastructure improvements would upgrade the facility for heavy lift operations necessary to serve as a wind turbine pre-assembly hub for the Northeast.
A presentation by David Kooris, acting chair of the CPA and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), outlined the project, timeline and economic impact.
The New London pier has some significant geographic advantages—direct access to the ocean with no bridge or overhead obstruction in a well-protected harbor with deep water access—but the site requires major investment for heavy lift capable upgrade, which would need to be completed under a tight timeline for current projects.
Projects in the Northeast aim to develop off shore wind resources to provide 20,000 megawatts, enough clean energy to power 10 million homes. New London is not the only site under consideration; we are in competition with other states who are actively pursuing offshore wind capable port facilities.
Upgrading the pier is a $93 million project, with $57.5 million funded by a joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource, who have contracted to develop wind power in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. CPA will fund $26 million of the infrastructure improvements. The State retains ownership of the improved State Pier, with Ørsted and Eversource entering a 10-year lease agreement at $3 million paid annually to CPA.
Advocates of the project emphasized how well the wind power industry aligns with current marine technology and manufacturing companies in eastern Connecticut. Additionally, the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board has developed a manufacturing pipeline that trains workers for skills well suited to the wind power industry as well as current employers.
Over 850 direct and indirect jobs will be created by pier construction, and over 400 long-term, middle-income jobs will be created by the currently contracted wind energy projects. Along with this economic driver, the City of New London will receive payments of $750,000 from Ørsted and Eversource in the first two years of operations, which are in addition to its current $250,000 from PILOT and the CPA Impact Fee.
Kooris addressed concerns about exclusive use of the pier for the wind energy project. Currently, State Pier averages 23 port calls annually, compared to New Haven’s 200 port calls. His presentation noted that increasing commodity cargo would have a limited impact on the local economy where as the upgraded pier and off shore wind industry create a long-term, high value asset. During periods where Ørsted and Eversource are not using State Pier, the facility will be marketed to other customers to ensure maximum utilization.
The next steps are the finalization of the agreement between CPA, Gateway Terminal, who operates the pier, and Ørsted and Eversource. The project then goes forward to selecting a construction contractor and seeking local, state and federal approvals.