NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal became the landing site this week for the first parts of a massive turbine for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind development.

Parts of the turbine’s tower were sent from Portugal on the UHL Felicity to New Bedford. The shipment arrived at the harbor on Wednesday and landed at the terminal at 5:30 p.m.

Elected officials, members of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and representatives from Vineyard Wind and General Electric gathered in front of the ship Thursday morning to celebrate the occasion.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said the arrival of the parts marked a triumph over those who were skeptical. Mitchell and lawmakers from the SouthCoast had been pushing to bring offshore wind to New Bedford for decades, arguing it would create new jobs and provide energy without high emissions of carbon dioxide.

“We stuck with it because we wanted our city to thrive over the next few decades,” Mitchell said. “For those who have been skeptical, I get it. But seeing is believing.”

Rep Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) agreed with Mitchell and said the fight to bring wind power to New Bedford was worthwhile.

“Without the legislation that we passed, we wouldn’t have days like this,”
Cabral said. “Some in legislative leadership and Governor Deval Patrick were not convinced at the time, but we convinced them."

The turbine is one of 62 to be installed south of Martha’s Vineyard as part of the first large-scale offshore wind development in the United States. The tower will be constructed at the terminal before being shipped to the development site in the summer.

Other parts, such as the blade and hub, will be sent to the site for construction. The turbines will be 850 feet high and generate up to 800 megawatts to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses throughout Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller said the project would create 3,600 full time-equivalent jobs and gave a special thanks to unions for their support.

“More than 300 union workers have helped with this so far,” Moeller said. “The men, women and unions of Massachusetts are tough people.”

According to Moeller, the next step for the project is for more components to arrive in New Bedford. Moeller said Vineyard Wind will go online this year.

“This is only the first – much more is coming,” he said. “And the vision of New Bedford at the epicenter of the offshore wind industry is coming to life today.”

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