It’s a very big deal. It’s a very big deal. It’s a great opportunity to scale new business," Rothstein says. “And if Massachusetts is one of the first hubs for this kind of activity then Massachusetts companies will have the expertise over the whole Eastern region of the U.S.”
A local supply chain does not exist yet, so the first wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts will largely be built with parts from Europe. Those generators and blades are enormous and getting bigger. The biggest turbines in Europe, which now produce electricity that’s cost competitive with fossil fuels, are taller than New England’s highest building (formerly called Hancock Tower).
The cost of getting the machines here will be very expensive.
Jeff Grybowski, head of Deepwater Wind, one of the companies competing for the Massachusetts offshore contract, says that a homegrown supply chain makes sense in the long run.
“We’re at the beginning of an industry that I think will be built out over decades and decades and that’s a good thing because what we’d like to do as an industry is to build a few projects up and down the coast, every two years,” Grybowski says. “So we’re talking about an industry that will sustain jobs for decades.”
The promise of sustainable jobs, a sustainable industry and sustainable energy — a triple bottom line now in the works off, and on the coast, of Massachusetts.
“This competition that’s happening in Massachusetts is really a key to what happens in the U.S. and that will be a watershed moment for our industry,” Grybowski says.
The winning bid will be announced next summer, with the first steel in the water a year or two later.
While Massachusetts’ goal for offshore wind over the coming decade is ambitious, it pales in comparison to Europe, where offshore wind over the last 25 years has become a $100 billion industry.