NEW BEDFORD- Offshore wind energy developer Vineyard Wind held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday with Mayor Jon Mitchell to recognize the opening of their office in the Bank of America building, located downtown on Pleasant Street.

Vineyard Wind CEO Erich Stephens said the company was “thrilled” to have local leaders at the celebration in a press release. He spoke to the crowd at the entrance of the new office before cutting the ribbon.

“We’ve worked on the water for generations and the geography, the proximity to the project sites. There’s no doubt that New Bedford really going to be the epicenter of offshore wind in years ahead so we’re really pleased to be opening up our offices here” said Stephens.

“All of the factors are lining up to making New Bedford really the center of a new industry, offshore wind,” the CEO said.

Mayor Mitchell was joined by state Representatives Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), Robert Kozcera (D-New Bedford), Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), and Paul Schmid (D-Westport).

Haddad spoke briefly of her work with Mayor Mitchell’s administration on the project, as well as her anticipation of the request for proposals that are due out this week from offshore wind developers electricity distributors, per state law signed in 2016. This law states that electricity distributors must purchase a long-term contract for at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power within the next decade.

“This is a real milestone,” said Haddad. “ The actual RFP that will begin the process of procuring offshore wind for the south coast came out today, so I can’t even express how excited I am.”

One of three developers seeking to build the first utility-scale wind-power project for the coast of Massachusetts, Vineyard Wind says that its project area is about fifteen miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

According to Mayor Mitchell, the construction of the project is expected to begin in three to four years.