NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The landscape surrounding State Pier looks a bit different these days. The hill which overlooked the port is gone and much of that dirt now sits in piles on the pier.
“The investment by the state is making this possible and the permit just means it’s happening now,” said Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London.
That permit recently approved by the DEEP allows the Connecticut Port Authority to fill in about seven cubic acres between the two existing piers. It is part of a project to modernize State Pier and bring the city one step closer to becoming a hub for the offshore wind industry.
In a joint statement, Ørsted and Eversource applauded the approval, saying State Pier needs “…heavy-lift capabilities to assist wind turbine staging and assembly for our projects – including Connecticut’s first offshore wind farm, Revolution Wind – and create more than 100 on-going positions…“
They say it will also create 400 well-paying construction jobs. DRVN Enterprises tried to stop the Port Authority’s permit. The salt company says it was driven out when this project was first floated.
“I wish it was done differently and I wish we could have preserved DRVN and I think it could have been done but unfortunately it wasn’t,” said Mayor Passero.
The Port Authority expects the project to be completed by the end of 2022.
Right now, the city is getting about $850,000 a year because of this project. Traditionally, it had never gotten any revenue from State Pier.
That revenue is expected to go up even more if and when the offshore wind industry takes off.
“The revenue is based on the power purchases by the state so as PURA approves additional purchases from Ørsted and Eversource, the city’s revenue increases,” said Mayor Passero.
The mayor also says the project will create a supply chain of other businesses like Thayer Mahan in Groton, which boards ships like the one now docked at City Pier for undersea surveying.