In a ceremony on July 16, Vineyard Wind signed a labor agreement with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council to erect America’s first industrial scale offshore wind farm.
The wind farm will feature 62 GE Haliade-X turbines, and is expected to have an overall cost of approximately $2 billion. The 62 turbines will produce 800 megawatts of electricity. That electricity will be sent through two export cables buried under the Atlantic seafloor. The cables will pass through the Muskeget Channel, about a mile off Chappaquiddick, and stretch across Nantucket Sound to a landfall at Barnstable, where they will send electricity into the grid.
Approximately 500 “family-sustaining union jobs” will be created by means of the new agreement, according to a press release.
“The signing of this [project labor agreement] is the culmination of our long-standing promise to the working people of Massachusetts,” Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said through a release. “We now have an agreement in place that will make sure local residents on the South Coast, Cape and Islands, can reap the greatest possible benefit from this new and growing industry. And beyond that, it’s a commitment to make sure we have a diversified workforce that represents the communities where we work, so that we can open the doors of opportunity as wide as possible.”
Massachusetts Building Council President Frank Callahan was equally effusive.
“The signing of this project labor agreement sets the standard for offshore wind and other renewable energy projects across our country. We can build back better with renewable energy and create union jobs at the same time,” said Callahan through a release. “The men and women of North America’s Building Trades Unions are the best trained, most highly skilled, and most productive workforce in the world. They get the job done right while earning family-sustaining wages and benefits that provide them a secure place in America’s middle class.”
Callahan told The Times a special feature of the agreement is that 51 percent of the workers for the construction project must be drawn from Barnstable County, Bristol County, Dukes County, and Plymouth County.
Callahan said he felt both pride and relief after sealing the deal.
“It was over three years negotiating it,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting to work on the project.”
On the short list for upcoming components of the project to tackle will be the electrical substation in Barnstable, he said.
“It will be one of the first things that gets moving,” he said.