NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — As New Bedford prepares to host the nation’s first large-scale wind project, the state is in the process of developing a skilled, diverse and equitable workforce to maintain it.
On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker visited the New Bedford Commerce Terminal, which was chosen as the project’s staging area, to outline the state’s efforts to ensure its offshore wind workforce is properly trained and ready to go.
In order to meet the state’s ambitious offshore wind goals, Baker said he plans to put $100 million in federal COVID relief funding toward the development of critical port infrastructure.
Baker said by doing this, the state will “maximize the economic potential of this industry.”
“You can’t find the work that’s been done here anywhere on the East Coast yet, and I do think at this point you’re going to start to see a significant amount of momentum pick up,” Baker said.
The New Bedford Commerce Terminal will become a hub designed to support the construction, assembly and deployment of offshore wind projects, including a massive wind farm that’s set to be located 14 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
Once completed, the 84-turbine wind farm will generate 800 megawatts of wind power, which is almost 6% of the state’s current electric load.
The project is expected to create thousands of jobs and regional training opportunities in an emerging industry.
Baker said the state is working with Bristol Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to bolster the workforce.
The staging area is set to be completed by 2023, which is also when construction on the offshore wind project is scheduled to begin.