Mitchell: New Bedford ‘In a Competition’ for Offshore Wind Opportunities
People hardly hear an elected official talk about competing outside of campaign season. However, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, in a moment of candor on WBSM’s SouthCoast Tonight, changed the tenor of the conversation around the efforts to make New Bedford a hub for the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the U.S. and sent a message to other port cities vying for similar opportunities.
“We’re in a competition and we need to compete,” Mitchell said. “These days collaboration is so cliched, right? There’s a time to collaborate, a time to partner, and then there’s a time to say, ‘Look I’m gonna beat you at your game and my game and we’re going to win.' I might even say it in blunter terms than that in private conversation, but that’s what we’re here for. We’re going to kick some butt.”
Mitchell said that the City is doing everything within its capabilities to foster an environment that will be welcoming and attractive for major players in the offshore wind industry, including port infrastructure investment, workforce investment, and establishing incubators for businesses in the marine sector.
Mitchell added that lately these efforts have taken up the majority of his time as mayor, wanting to capitalize on what he sees as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Bedford.
Mitchell also assured the audience that New Bedford is winning the competition along the East Coast. To date, commitments have been secured with major energy companies such as Avante Garde, Semco Maritime, and Foss Marine to establish their offshore wind base in New Bedford, with three other major companies in talks to follow suit.
With Vineyard Wind beginning construction in the first quarter of 2023, Mitchell said city residents will begin to see the colossal turbine components arrive at the port this coming winter.
“We’re ahead, and we are trying to stretch the lead,” Mitchell said. “Because we know that the industry is going to make decisions in the next few years about where to set up shop and we want everybody, to the greatest extent possible, to set up shop in New Bedford. So that we have a cluster here that serves the region and creates jobs and opportunities in the long run. That’s what we’re looking for.”
You can listen to Mayor Mitchell’s full interview with Chris and Marcus on SouthCoast Tonight below: