NEW LONDON -- A new project in New London will redevelop the State Pier and take Connecticut's energy industry into the future.
"New London is going to be the heart," says Governor Ned Lamont. "It’s going to be the Silicon Valley of renewable energy, starting with wind power."
Thursday morning the Connecticut Port Authority finalized plans to take the State Pier's potential and turn it into a powerhouse for renewable energy resources. $93 million dollars from public and private entities will upgrade the Pier's infrastructure and heavy-lift capability to accommodate heavy-lift cargo.
"It’s a great day for Connecticut because Connecticut is leading the way in wind power in developing this harbor," says Scott Bates, Chairman for the Connecticut Port Authority.
Currently, State Pier operates one-to-two cargo ships a month. They’re hoping to up that with this redevelopment project to one-to-two ships a week. Not only that ,but they’re hoping to make New London a hub for wind industry.
"We are getting a port facility that can do more than ever," says Bates.
It's starting with a combined wind turbine project by Eversource and Orsted called Revolution Wind. New London will be home to the wind turbine generator assembly portion of the project. The state will purchase 300 megawatts of energy from the off shore wind farm, which equates to generating enough clean energy to power more than 150,000 Connecticut homes. Eversource and Orsted have given $35 million dollars to the pier's infrastructure improvements.
While some people still like the idea of making Connecticut a hub for new energy, they have reservations about what the new investments mean for their industries. Kevin Blackers works in agriculture and would like the port to be used for more than wind energy.
"I think that State Pier has the potential to be one of the biggest economic drivers, the biggest economic driver, in the state and region," says Blackers, who is from Noank. "Everybody’s viewpoint needs to be considered to reach the best outcome."
Governor Lamont says his goal is the same.
"As we get State Pier built out, I’d like to think our wind power is just the beginning of what we could do here," says Governor Lamont.
Construction work on the development project is expected to start in January 2020 and end in March 2022. The Revolution Wind Project is expected to be up and running by 2023.