State House bets big on offshore wind
Hartford — The state House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a measure to bring up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power to Connecticut, one of several East Coast states banking on future offshore wind farms to boost renewable energy production while cutting carbon emissions.
The 134-10 vote on House Bill 7156 comes fresh off Gov. Ned Lamont’s May 2 visit to New London, where he announced a long-term private-public investment of 250,000 and 500 million last fall.
In a statement, Bay State Wind said lawmakers had moved Connecticut in the right direction.
“With this new industry comes significant opportunity for job creation, local investment in southeastern Connecticut, and statewide economic benefits,” the developer said. “Offshore wind also supports the transition from older, dirtier fuel sources to clean, affordable, carbon-free energy.”
The legislation ensures that DEEP begins the process to seek proposals from offshore wind developers just two weeks after the law’s passage. It also requires DEEP to establish a schedule for future procurements of offshore wind, up to 2,000 megawatts by 2030. The law calls for contract commitments from developers that pay the prevailing wage and the creation of a new commission to help minimize impacts to the environment and commercial fishing during construction and operation.
John Humphries, lead organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, praised lawmakers for working “together to make this aggressive long-term commitment to offshore wind with the strongest labor and environmental protections of any state in the region.”
While state and local leaders have touted New London’s potential as an offshore wind hub, Vineyard Wind, the developer picked to deliver offshore wind power to Massachusetts, has set its eyes on Bridgeport.
Vineyard Wind applauded the House on Tuesday and said if the state eventually selects it to supply wind power, the company “will invest millions of dollars in the revitalization of Bridgeport Harbor and its conversion into a modern, state-of-the-art shipping channel, so that the harbor can be used as a staging area for the ongoing construction” of its planned 800-megawatt wind farm, also off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.