Climate change is an overwhelming challenge, yet Connecticut and our neighboring states are rising to meet it. In September, Gov. Ned Lamont called climate change “an urgent, existential threat that must be tackled immediately.” And, the Lamont administration is tackling it now.
Currently, Connecticut is evaluating proposals in an offshore wind energy solicitation. Offshore wind is a proven renewable technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create new jobs, provide affordable clean energy, and revitalize Connecticut’s port infrastructure.
Why Connecticut makes sense for offshore wind developers
Ørsted leads the world in constructing and supporting offshore wind farms since building the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991. Ørsted has helped to redevelop the Ports of Esbjerg, Denmark; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and, Grimsby, England for offshore wind assembly, and all are examples of revitalized communities as a result.
This harbor revitalization can be replicated in Connecticut with New London as the United States’ premier offshore wind hub. New London is an attractive port for wind developers given its proximity to many offshore wind lease areas, its capacity to accommodate large ships as a deep-water port, and its lack of obstacles like bridges and hurricane barriers. New London’s State Pier and the surrounding region can be a national leader in the emerging offshore wind industry, attracting manufacturers and suppliers to choose the New London region, bringing along economic benefits and growth.
Economic, environmental and community benefits for Connecticut
Our Constitution Wind proposal, currently under review by the state, would be located approximately 65 miles from New London with great potential for economic and environmental benefits. Two aspects of Constitution Wind distinguish it from other proposals under review. First, it is the most advanced and viable project, which means it can deliver clean energy sooner toenergy customers. Second, Eversource and Ørsted are your hometown team. We live here, we work here and, together, we will build this wind farm with our community partners like the City of New London and Thayer Mahan of Groton.
If selected, Constitution Wind will provide up to four terawatt-hours of offshore wind energy to Connecticut annually, enough energy to power more than 600,000 homes, nearly half of all Connecticut households, with reliable clean energy at a competitive price. Constitution Wind will also help the state transition from older, dirtier energy sources to clean, carbon-free energy sources to achieve its 40 percent by 2030 renewable energy requirement. The greenhouse gas reduction that Constitution Wind will provide is the equivalent of removing 400,000 cars from our roads.
What’s good for the environment is typically good for the economy and business, and offshore wind proves this point. Eversource and Ørsted’s extensive experience will allow us to drive innovation, standardization, and cost reduction. We have unparalleled relationships with the supplier network needed to bring offshore wind projects to life in the United States and develop a robust supply chain here in Connecticut.
Constitution Wind will have a total GDP impact to Connecticut of $700 million and create more than 5,600 direct and indirect jobs across the Northeast, including approximately 400 offshore wind-related jobs with the revitalized New London State Pier.
We have also committed $250.62 million locally in our proposal that will support local small business and supply chain development, construction and assembly, job training, scholarships, Connecticut’s commercial fishermen, brownfields redevelopment, coastal resiliency, environmental research, and more. Additionally, $5 million will support energy efficiency for low-income residents of New London County.
Connecticut’s opportunity to be a major player
Ørsted and Eversource believe taking on climate change is an imperative, and offshore wind is one of the solutions. Both companies have shifted away from fossil fuels and have invested in clean, renewable energy to support the transformation of the Northeast’s energy ecosystem to meet its aggressive climate goals.
Connecticut is currently a national leader in the fight against climate change because it recognizes the value offshore wind brings to the table. It fits into the state’s overall energy mix, improves winter reliability, and will help us achieve essential carbon reduction goals while delivering clean energy at a competitive price. We appreciate the continued support of the state’s residents, businesses, and communities for this burgeoning new industry.
Thomas Brostrøm is the North American President of Ørsted. Mike Auseré is the Eversource Vice President of Offshore Wind.