New Bedford Will Light the World Again [OPINION]
"This is a historic day, it truly is for New Bedford," Rep. Bill Keating said Friday morning at Vineyard Wind, the company at the forefront of New Bedford's offshore wind ambitions. "Today is the day that talk becomes action!"
Vineyard Wind ceremoniously signed the first project labor agreement in the offshore wind industry, solidifying not only a commitment to green energy but growing the industry on a foundation of locally-sourced and unionized labor. This was a milestone in the progress of offshore wind and an opportunity to rebuff common conservative refrain about clean energy and job growth being mutually exclusive.
"Clean energy and offshore wind will be the part of the next chapter of New Bedford's proud maritime tradition," Rep. Jake Auchincloss said. "It's not an 'either or,' it's a 'yes and,'" when talking about creating jobs and fighting climate change.
Other government officials in attendance included President Biden's National Climate Advisor and Massachusetts native Gina McCarthy, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Mayor Jon Mitchell, Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka, State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides, and members of the Southeastern Massachusetts state delegation.
All of whom spoke with the backdrop of the port that once made New Bedford a global leader in energy when it was the whaling capital of the world. All of whom made one thing clear: with offshore wind and clean energy, New Bedford will recapture that glory.
"I look forward to coming back when this project is finished...and to celebrate New Bedford once again becoming the city that lights the world," Sen. Warren said.
"Now in the 21st century, New Bedford is again at the forefront of a new energy revolution," Sen. Markey said. "A clean energy revolution powered by the winds off of our shores."
New Bedford remains the wealthiest fishing port in the U.S., but there has been an almost unprecedented amount of attention drawn there as of late and for reasons that surprisingly don't include scallops. From the site visit for the National Offshore Wind Institute, to the redevelopment announcement of the former Eversource/Sprague power plant, and now this historic marker for offshore wind, a cluster of blue economic and clean energy development is beginning to take shape and position New Bedford as ground zero for this new growth.
As Mayor Jon Mitchell said at the event, "We have the best seafaring workforce in the America." With the addition of this new industry, New Bedford is set to elevate its robust port economy to global heights.
Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.