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Wind partnership buys Footprint land for $30M

  • Oct 6, 2022
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Source: 
Salem News

Oct. 6—SALEM — The land slated to become an offshore wind turbine construction yard has been sold to the partnership that will build the yard over the next three years.

Salem Harbor Wind Terminal, a public-private partnership between city officials, Crowley and AVANGRID, bought 42 acres of vacant land around the Salem Harbor Footprint power station for $30 million in deeds recorded on Oct. 3.

The companies announced the closing of the deal Wednesday morning, which now leads to the permitting and design phase of the project, according to Jeff Andreini, vice president of offshore wind for Crowley.

"I don't think enough people know that this is strategically one of the best locations for supporting offshore wind in the United States," Andreini said. "There's only a handful of places that are going to be able to support marshalling."

Salem, with the land purchase, will likely now become one. With a permitting process guided by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, a series of local, state and federal meetings will be scheduled as formal plans are now drawn up, according to Seth Lattrell, the city's harbor planner.

With the milestone crossed, Lattrell said, "this allows the project to start its permitting phase, which will put us on track for a 2025 opening date."

"They should be kicking off their permitting with MEPA shortly," Lattrell said. "They're anticipating that initial filing this month. That'll run through the full gamut of state, local, and federal review."

Several community and neighborhood meetings are also expected, he said. Construction is currently expected to begin next summer, added Andreini.

"We're going to be continuing to engage alongside Crowley and AVANGRID with the community," Lattrell said. "There will be another round of public meetings. We did a round last spring, early summer, so Crowley is very clear that they see themselves as part of this community now and want to be a good neighbor."

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said the purchase "represents a major milestone in our shared efforts to transform Salem Harbor into a world-class offshore wind port."

"What's more, the agreement preserves the commitment to the city for ownership for 5 acres of the wind terminal site," she said, "which is so important to our future ability to access the deep-water berth and the harbor."

But at the same time, there's a lot that needs to be built — not just in Salem, but throughout the North Shore. Much of that work is just starting as school programs start looking to boost trades and programs that would provide a workforce for the jobs to be filled starting in 2025, according to Andreini.

"It's really a full-life-cycle approach of what we want to do for every single state we're going to be able to do business with," he said. "Our whole thinking here is not just how you provide global wind organization (GWO) certification, which we could do through Mass Maritime. What I've talked to the mayor about is 'how do we get offshore wind curriculum through potentially Salem State?' That's going to be able to support the land-side work that has to get done."

Bob Blair, chairperson of the Salem Port Operating Committee with the Salem Marine Society, said the news "signals the future for the port of Salem, Massachusetts, in a way that would not have been predicted less than two years ago."

"They basically bought a seaport. That's really unique," Blair said. "It generally doesn't happen. They aren't on the market."

"This happens because you have all of the pent-up building demand in the offshore wind sector. That's really driving the economics and why this is going to be so positive," Blair said. "The number of jobs and economic opportunity that will be generated through the reutilization of the seaport for decades are going to pay off, and everyone should be very excited about it."

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or DLuca@salemnews.com. Follow him at facebook.com/dustinluca or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or DLuca@salemnews.com. Follow him at facebook.com/dustinluca or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

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(c)2022 The Salem News (Beverly, Mass.)

Visit The Salem News (Beverly, Mass.) at www.salemnews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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