The Connecticut Port Authority and State of Connecticut are leading a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Authority-owned State Pier, Central Vermont Pier, and adjacent land in the Port of New London, from an underutilized asset to a state-of-the-art, heavy-lift-capable terminal. The improvements enhance the State Pier facility to accommodate future cargo needs through greater versatility and resilience.
In 2019, the Authority completed its terminal operator solicitation resulting in Gateway New London LLC as concessionaire of the terminal. In 2020, a harbor development agreement (including Gateway and joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource) was executed, which included a $75 million capital contribution by the private partners.
So how will State Pier be transformed? We are leveling and expanding the footprint of the terminal. We are adding heavy-lift capability that will expand the terminal’s uses, including for the emerging offshore wind industry. The improved facility maintains its vital freight rail link.
These improvements, combined with the Port’s natural, deep-water harbor free of overhead obstructions or other harbor restrictions, allow the State to market the facility as one of the most advanced, efficient marine terminals along the East Coast.
Without this long-sought renovation, the facility and its potential to drive economic activity locally, regionally, and statewide would have continued to languish as it has for generations. Now, there is significant potential for additional jobs and economic development directly and indirectly associated with the terminal.
Once completed, the facility will be used primarily for the staging and assembly of offshore wind turbines through 2033. These high-volume, labor-intensive projects will also support state and federal clean energy goals. Three offshore wind projects commissioned by Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island – totaling more than 1,700MW – are already scheduled to be delivered from the completed facility.
The Connecticut Port Authority and State of Connecticut, together with our partners Ørsted and Eversource, are investing $250 million to redevelop the Authority’s State Pier facility in New London. Ørsted and Eversource have contributed over $75 million in capital improvements.
The State Pier facility will be used primarily for the staging and assembly of offshore wind turbines through 2033. Three offshore wind projects totaling more than 1,700MW are already scheduled to be delivered from the completed facility: South Fork Wind (132MW, State of New York); Revolution Wind (304MW, State of Connecticut and 400MW, State of Rhode Island); and Sunrise Wind (880MW, State of New York).
The first U.S.-built wind turbine installation vessel, Dominion’s Charybdis, which is expected to be sea- ready in late-2023, will first be deployed from the Port of New London’s State Pier to support the construction of the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.
During periods when Ørsted and Eversource are not using State Pier, the facility will be marketed to other customers to ensure maximum utilization.
A report released in December of 2021 highlighted business opportunities presented by offshore wind energy across the state. The report, “Embracing the Potential of Offshore Wind in Connecticut: A Study of Opportunities and Challenges” was produced by McAllister Marine Engineering, commissioned by Ørsted and Eversource, and overseen by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. The report concluded that the state’s high-tech supply chain and skilled labor make the region and state attractive to the industry.
The local investment, job growth, and development opportunities associated with the State Pier project are real – as evidenced by the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) announcement in December that the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) had been selected as a Phase 1 finalist for its proposal to create an Offshore Wind Industry Cluster in EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. With their Phase 2 proposal submitted in March, seCTer is competing for significant implementation assistance, with EDA expected to award 20 to 30 coalitions each up to $100 million. Additionally, agencies such as AdvanceCT are working to highlight the economic opportunities presented by offshore wind.
Total fund availability for the project is $255 million. Unlike other states that are just now beginning similar port infrastructure projects funded entirely with public money, the Port of New London’s State Pier project is funded with public and private money.
The state has committed $180 million to the project and a joint business venture between Ørsted, the world leader in offshore wind energy development, and Eversource, New England’s largest energy producer, has committed more than $75 million to the project.
When completed, the entire site will have been rebuilt and transformed into a massive pad able to withstand heavy loads based on current and future marine cargo needs. The upgrades include the creation of two heavy-lift pads, each capable of handling loads of 5,000 pounds per square foot (psf). The rest of the facility’s load-bearing capacity has been enhanced to 3,000psf. All utilities have been upgraded and areas that were contaminated decades ago have been remediated.
The footprint of the terminal has been leveled and expanded. The project included filling nearly 8 acres between the two outdated finger piers with construction-grade fill.
The improved facility maintains its freight-rail link to the existing Central Vermont Railroad line.
Construction is scheduled to be substantially completed by March 2023. At that point, terminal operator Gateway New London, LLC, will again take possession of the site and resume operations as it had prior to the rebuilding. As with all port facility operators, Gateway will be required to ensure that all Federal Marine Security Zone protocols are in place before commencing full operations. Gateway will enter into a ten-year sublease with Ørsted and Eversource, who will utilize the facility for the staging and assembly of offshore wind turbines through 2033. The Connecticut Port Authority will continue to own the site.
While near-term use of the facility will be for the staging, assembly, and shipping of offshore wind energy turbines, the facility improvements were designed to handle all types of cargo. The improvements have significantly enhanced the facility’s cargo handling capabilities, allowing for new opportunities to accommodate heavy-lift and project cargo.
The Ørsted and Eversource Joint Venture, which committed 30% of the project funding, does have a 10-year lease agreement with the Connecticut Port Authority for use of the pier to support staging and assembly of their offshore wind projects. Three offshore wind projects are already scheduled to be delivered from State Pier: South Fork Wind (132MW, State of New York); Revolution Wind (304MW, State of Connecticut and 400MW, State of Rhode Island); and Sunrise Wind (880MW, State of New York). Once offshore wind operations begin, the terminal will see a five-fold increase in vessel calls over the previous decade.
During periods when Ørsted and Eversource are not using State Pier to deliver their wind projects, terminal operator Gateway New London will market the facility to other customers to ensure maximum utilization of State Pier. Given that the terminal will be a unique asset in the Northeast, it will be in high demand. Additional offshore wind farms, developed by the Ørsted and Eversource Joint Venture or other developers, may be similarly staged and shipped from the terminal given its advanced upgrades and proximity to federal wind farm lease sites off the East Coast.
A high point for the facility and the Port of New London will be the arrival of the nation’s first U.S.-built offshore wind turbine installation vessel, the 472-foot-long, 184-wide Charybdis. The vessel is designed to transport wind turbine monopoles vertically for safer, more efficient installation once on site in the federal lease areas out at sea. The Connecticut Port Authority and Port of New London will be the first to host this $500 million vessel when it is ready for sea in late 2023. The vessel will support the construction of the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.