A week before the Connecticut Port Authority’s first major deadline to substantially complete work on the New London State Pier, the agency’s director said he can’t say yet how much more state money they will have to ask for to complete the more than $255.5 million project – but he said operations for a major offshore wind project will begin as early as March.
Executive Director Ulysses Hammond told the Port Authority Board on Tuesday that the final price of the project and any potential for the offshore wind partnership of Eversource and Ørsted to put more money towards the pier’s redevelopment are still under negotiation.
But Hammond said the project is still on track to have enough work completed so that Eversource and Ørsted can use it to ship out the 12 turbines for their 130 MW South Fork Wind project off the coast of Long Island this summer.
“It’s premature right now, when you’re in negotiations with all the parties, to start talking about numbers at this point in time,” Hammond said, adding that he expects to have information for the board “very soon,” and that there will need to be a special meeting for the board to vote on contract amendments and a final price.
Various issues have delayed construction of some parts of the pier property. The Port Authority’s website for the project lists work as being 68 percent completed as of last Friday, and some remaining dredging work will have to be rescheduled to next November, Hammond said.
But David Kooris, acting chair of the authority, said the construction needed for Eversource and Ørsted to use the pier for offshore wind delivery will be completed in time for the companies to take over operation of the pier in April, as they prepare to ship out wind turbines. Further construction will continue throughout the year, he said.
“When we talk about [Eversource and Ørsted] taking over the facility, when we talk about Gateway mobilizing to operate the facility, when we talk about the first wind farm coming in, that’s on the northeast bulkhead and all of the contiguous upland facilities,” Kooris said. “The areas where we’re having trouble [on the eastern and southern edges of the pier], that we keep describing month after month, are the south wall and the State Pier relieving platform, and the toe wall below it.”
The bulkhead will be complete before the end of the month, in time for the “substantial completion” deadline, Kooris said. Terminal operator Gateway will take over the property in March, and components for the offshore wind project will begin arriving in the spring, according to the authority.
“These improvements will bring significant economic benefits to the region by accommodating offshore wind development in the Northeast,” Hammond said in an emailed statement to CT Examiner. “This new industry represents a significant addition to the regional economy through supply chain opportunities for local businesses and an infusion of skilled jobs that provide family-supporting wages.”
Kooris said the authority expects that when the facility is handed over to the offshore wind partnership of Eversource and Ørsted in April, they will start paying rent to the port authority to use the facility.
Hammond reiterated that the project is expected to be ready for Eversource and Ørsted to use for South Fork Wind, and that components for the wind farm will start arriving in New London in the spring.
“This summer, at the northeast bulkhead heavy lift platform, sea-going barges, with tugs fore and aft, will be shipping 12 turbines for South Fork,” Hammond said.