NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ The nation’s first large-scale wind project marked a major milestone Friday after one of the largest construction union groups in the region agreed to build it.
The Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council signed a Project Labor Agreement ceremoniously at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which was chosen as the project’s staging area.
“Today is the day talk becomes action,” Rep. Bill Keating said. “We’re here to celebrate that.”
The agreement will bring 3,600 jobs, including 500 guaranteed union jobs, to the region.
“These won’t be jobs that come and go with the wind,” Sen. Ed Markey said. “These positions will have prevailing wages.”
The wind farm is set to be located 14 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Once completed, Vineyard Wind estimates said it will provide 800 megawatts of wind power, which is almost 6% of the state’s current electric load.
White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, who was on hand for Friday’s ceremony, called Massachusetts, “the most stubborn, tenacious and committed state in the world,” which is why it’s the first state to launch a commercial offshore wind project.
“This project would never have happened if it weren’t in Massachusetts,” she said.
The agreement comes just days after New Bedford announced it would be repurposing the old Cannon Street power station into another offshore wind staging facility.
“New Bedford is the Silicon Valley of the Blue Economy in Massachusetts,” Markey said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the project also brings climate change to the forefront, adding that “we don’t have to choose between addressing climate change or creating economic development.”
Construction on the project is set to begin in 2023.