Vineyard Wind opens New Bedford office

Vineyard Wind, one of three likely bidders for the state’s first offshore wind contract, held a ribbon cutting and reception for its New Bedford office Thursday.

The celebration, on the fifth floor of the Bank of America building on Pleasant Street, came the same day that a final request for proposals was issued by electricity companies, in conjunction with the state, detailing the requirements for the first project.

On hand for the opening were state Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, president pro tem of the House of Representatives, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, and others who have promoted offshore wind.

“I think this is probably one of the most exciting things that will ever happen on the SouthCoast,” Haddad said. She thanked the New Bedford legislative delegation for allowing her to become part of the movement for offshore wind.

Mitchell said New Bedford initially took criticism for embracing offshore wind, but today, mayors around the country are talking about how their cities can become drivers of a green energy revolution.

“A great deal of our political capital and a great deal of our credibility was put out on the line to ... persuade people that this could happen,” he said.

He thanked Vineyard Wind Chief Executive Officer Erich Stephens for his leadership on the subject, calling Stephens “one of the American apostles of the offshore wind industry.”

Stephens praised local and state leaders, saying they played a critical role in an initiative that will make the region the national leader in offshore wind, create a new industry in Massachusetts, and help the state do its part to fight climate change.

Four people work in the local Vineyard Wind office now, but another will be added over the summer, and if they are chosen to build, they will have hundreds of people working at the port and in their offices, Stephens said.

Vineyard Wind is owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners of Denmark.

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Rebecca Rutenberg