Vineyard Wind signs $9m lease with New Bedford facility

State-owned terminal, completed in Jan. 2015, to rev up in Dec. 2020

THE STATE’S STAGING TERMINAL for offshore wind development got its first major customer on Monday, nearly four years after it opened for business in New Bedford.

Vineyard Wind, with power contracts in hand to build an 800-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, signed an 18-month lease that starts December 1, 2020. The lease amount is $6 million a year, so the total comes to $9 million unless the lease is extended.

The terms of the lease were set in September 2016, when all three companies vying for state offshore wind contracts committed to use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal under the same terms if they were selected. The large turbines needed for the project will be assembled at the facility and then transported to the wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

Construction of the $113 million terminal began during the administration of former governor Deval Patrick and was completed in January 2015. It has seen minimal use since then, enough to cover the facility’s operating costs.

Stephen Pike, the CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which operates the facility, said future prospects for the terminal are good with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all joining the Bay State in attempting to spur the development of an offshore wind industry along the East Coast.

“We are optimistic it will be the first of many projects to come,” Pike said.

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