NEW BEDFORD — With no fanfare whatsoever, the offshore wind energy industry in New Bedford reached a significant milestone last weekend with the arrival of the Denmark-based Research Vessel Ocean Researcher at the Maritime Terminal in the South End. The ship represents the first offshore wind-related activity to take place at the $113 million, state-funded terminal, specifically designed to support the industry.
The arrival capped a week of good news for the offshore wind energy industry in Massachusetts, with the highlight being Gov. Charlie Baker’s signing of a law that mandates the production of at least 16 megawatts of offshore wind power in the next decade, the first law of its kind in the nation. The mandate greatly improves New Bedford’s positioning as a harbor for servicing the towers and shipping their components.
The 22-year-old RV Ocean Researcher, all 226 feet and 1,936 tons of her, tied up at the Maritime Terminal, which otherwise is vacant, the sole exception being a new scrap metal operation.
The ship had just completed a 17-day trip from Hull, England, where she is registered, said Lauren Burm, spokesman for the Danish company DONG, or Danish Oil and Natural Gas, known in the United States as Bay State Wind, Inc. She was speaking at an informal event near the ship’s temporary home at the terminal.