The New Bedford Port Authority has reached an agreement with all offshore wind developers operating in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island market to serve as the designated Fisheries Representative of the commercial fishing industry to each of the development companies.
Under federal guidelines issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) (https://www.boem.gov/Social-and-Economic-Conditions-Fishery-Communication-Guidelines/) offshore wind developers must establish a Fisheries Representative to be the fishing community’s primary point of contact for communicating project-related concerns to the developer.
In this role, the Port Authority will act as a central clearinghouse of information, convene stakeholders, facilitate dialogue between fishermen and respective developers, and advocate for ways to mitigate impacts of wind projects on commercial fishermen. The Port Authority will also work closely with state and federal agencies to adopt policies and regulations needed to ensure the viability of commercial fishing operations.
Responsible for managing the nation’s largest commercial fishing port, the Port Authority has a long history of operating as a fishing advocate and policy facilitator. Most recently, the Port Authority convened a working group of East Coast fishing interests stretching from North Carolina to Maine. The working group has played the leading role in providing industry comment on current and future development plans, turbine layout, and transit corridors. That work, and Port Authority’s history as an advocate and broker in regulatory matters involving the fishing industry, made the agency’s new designation as Fisheries Representative a logical step.
The nascent offshore wind industry is rapidly developing projects along the Outer Continental Shelf of the eastern seaboard of the United States. Massachusetts and Rhode Island waters have attracted the most interest as the waters south of Martha’s Vineyard account for roughly 25% offshore wind energy reserves nationally. Developers pursuing projects in MA/RI waters include Vineyard Wind and Orsted (the world’s largest offshore wind developer). Rhode-Island based Deepwater Wind was recently acquired by Orsted.
“As the epicenter of commercial fishing in the Northwest Atlantic, New Bedford is the most logical place for the offshore wind industry to interface with fishermen,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who also serves as Chair of the NBPA. “The New Bedford Port Authority is a key organization to successfully facilitate the development of the offshore wind industry within a vibrant commercial fishing community.”
“The NBPA has been contracted by the developers to represent the interests of commercial fishermen, and to be a conduit of information between the developers and the commercial fishing industry as offshore wind farms are developed on the Outer Continental Shelf. Given the strong relationship the Port Authority maintains with all aspects of the diverse commercial fishing industry, it is logical for the organization to work with both the offshore wind industry and the various commercial fisheries potentially impacted by the design, construction and operation of the wind farms,” said Port Authority Director Ed Anthes-Washburn.
Washburn added, “We’re very excited to have all three developers on board for this timely announcement. Adequate and sustained engagement with the fishing industry will translate into more conciliatory communications and interactions with fishing communities up and down the eastern seaboard as the offshore wind industry begins in the United States.”
“We are committed to working with the commercial fishing industry through every step of this process,” said Thomas Brostrom, President of Orsted North America.
Brostrom added, “The New Bedford Port Authority as one of four Fishery Representatives to Bay State Wind, allows us to effectively communicate with commercial fishermen in New Bedford, helping us understand their needs and helping them understand ours without rushing stakeholder engagement, ensuring a robust process as we build up the offshore wind industry in the U.S.”
“We’re well on our way to making New Bedford a national hub of offshore wind, and the New Bedford Port Authority has been a reliable advocate for fishermen as we navigate this new industry together,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer of New Bedford-based Vineyard Wind, which on in October entered into a lease for use of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, where the company will stage construction of the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.
Stephens continued, “Fishing remains the anchor industry for New Bedford and the region, and as we work together to ensure that both industries thrive, the Port Authority is a natural fit to represent fishing interests to all developers.”
About The Port of New Bedford
The Port of New Bedford generates $9.8 billion in total economic value annually, directly supporting more than 6,200 jobs. All together, this economic activity accounts for fully 2% of the Massachusetts economy. Managed by the New Bedford Port Authority, the Port is committed to adopting best management practices for port resources and pursuing aggressive growth strategies that maintain New Bedford’s long-standing status as the nation’s as top commercial fishing port while capitalizing on new opportunities that maximize the Port’s economic potential.
About Ørsted US Offshore Wind
Ørsted US Offshore Wind delivers clean, renewable energy along the US Eastern Seaboard. The company operates Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and has a comprehensive geographic coverage with the largest pipeline of development capacity, totaling over 8GW in seven states. It is jointly headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island and employs over 75 people.
The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted is the world’s leading offshore wind farm developer, with 5.1GW offshore wind capacity installed in Europe and 3.8GW under construction. In addition, Ørsted develops, constructs and operates bioenergy plants, innovative waste-to-energy solutions and provides smart energy products to its customers. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 5,700 people. Ørsted’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2017, the group’s revenue was DKK 59.5 billion (EUR 8.0 billion). For more information on Ørsted, visit https://orsted.com/ or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
About Vineyard Wind
Vineyard Ward Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the U.S.. The project is located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the company is 50% owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and 50% by Avangrid Renewables. The company recently signed a lease for use of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for staging of the project. The 8 MW project will generate clean, renewable cost-competitive energy for 400,000 homes and businesses across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, while reducing carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year.