NEW BEDFORD IS ground zero for the emerging offshore wind industry in Massachusetts, but Salem got a taste of the action on Tuesday when a giant ship capable of installing the world’s largest wind turbines docked in the harbor.
The Sea Installer is preparing to head out to Vineyard Wind 1 south of Martha’s Vineyard and begin installing wind turbines, but first it had to undergo inspections by officials from the US Coast Guard and US Customs.
The Danish-flagged ship came to Salem for the inspections because of the city’s deep-water port and because, at 439 feet long and 150 feet wide, the ship is too big to squeeze through the hurricane barrier in New Bedford harbor.
Salem officials, including the former mayor, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, seized on the occasion to plug the arrival of offshore wind in Massachusetts and the future role Salem may play.
Later this year officials are expected to break ground on an offshore wind staging area on 40 acres of land located on the city’s waterfront and sandwiched between a gas-fired power plant and the Salem Ferry. The property used to be where coal was stockpiled for a coal-fired power plant, officials said.
The Sea Installer was docked on the water side of the property on Tuesday. It is often called a jack-up vessel because it has four legs that can lift the boat out of the water. The Sea Installer is 10 years old but it has a new crane capable of installing the 13 megawatt General Electric turbines being used on the wind farm. The vessel has a crew of 90, of whom about 24 will be US union workers, officials said.
A separate, larger vessel called Orion is already out at the wind farm area. It was used to build the substation where the electricity from the turbines will be gathered and it is installing the 62 foundations on the ocean floor. Work on the wind farm is scheduled to continue through the winter and wrap up sometime next summer.
Salem Mayor Dominick Pangallo is eager to see the industry take off in his city. “Salem is primed and ready to play our part in this important work as the next offshore wind marshaling terminal serving future such installations off the coast of Massachusetts, in the Gulf of Maine, or elsewhere,” he said.
Pangallo also said the Sea Installer is on a rescue mission. “In just the last two months our planet has seen the hottest day ever, the hottest June, the hottest July, wildfires poisoning the air of our continent, devastating rainfall, and a warming and rising sea. Around the globe the cascading impacts of our climate crisis are becoming ever more apparent and no longer ignorable,” he said. “We are in the crisis now, so the Sea Installer is on a rescue mission.”
Migrant housing emergency: Gov. Maura Healey declares a state of emergency in the face of what she called an “unsustainable” migrant housing crisis. The declaration seemed aimed primarily at Washington and the need for more help from the federal government. Healey said she had no intention of abandoning the state’s right to shelter status, which guarantees emergency housing for families that qualify.
– More than 5,500 families with children are living in state funded shelters, hotels, dormitories, and other emergency facilities across Massachusetts, up from 3,100 families needing the services last year, Healey said at a press conference. All told, more than 20,000 people are living in state shelters currently. Read more.
Grid modernization: Karen Wayland of the GridWise Alliance says grid modernization is the key to using electricity to deal with climate change. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Forty-five lawmakers write a letter to the Healey administration seeking more transparency about the activities of the Department of Public Utilities. (Berkshire Eagle)
State Auditor Diana DiZoglio says she’s launching an investigation of the use of settlements and non-disclosure agreements by state and quasi-public agencies, such as the Massachusetts Port Authority, where the Globe says use of such agreements was common. (Boston Globe)
Linda Spears, the long-time head of the Department of Children and Families, is leaving to become president of the Child Welfare League of America, a national advocacy organization. (Boston Globe)
Boston City Councilor Erin Murphy wants to hold a hearing to explore whether city street sweeping equipment used in the troubled Mass. and Cass area could be spreading infectious diseases to other parts of the city when used there. City officials called any such risk “extremely low.” (Boston Herald)
Municipal leaders and elected officials say they support Gov. Maura Healey’s emergency declaration regarding the migrant housing crisis, but they, too, need assistance to deal with the influx. (MassLive)
The congregation of a historic church in Spencer, twice destroyed by fire, is looking to rebuild once again after a lightning strike caused a six-alarm blaze in June. (Worcester Telegram)
In another sign of opposition even in red states to state-level abortion restrictions, Ohio voters rejected a ballot question that would have made it easier to amend the state’s constitution, a move the Republican-controlled Legislature wanted to make to limit abortion access. (New York Times)
Lots of questions remain about Boston’s plans for a high school revamp that include moving O’Bryant School of Math and Science to West Roxbury and doubling enrollment at a renovated Madison Park vocational school. (Boston Globe)
Amherst schools are facing another discrimination complaint, this time from the former president of the Amherst-Pelham Education Association, who claims she faced retaliation for saying the district was racially discriminating against employees and students of color. (MassLive)
A Worcester Public Schools survey found skyrocketing stress levels among students, prompting the district to roll out new strategies this fall to deal with the mental health crisis. (Worcester Telegram)
Towns across the state are facing school bus driver shortages. (MetroWest Daily News)
Lynn’s sewer system dumped nearly 6 million gallons of sewage into Lynn Harbor and King’s Beach during Tuesday’s heavy rainstorm. (Daily Item)
A junior varsity women’s soccer coach at Lynn Classical High School is arrested for a series of sex-related crimes in 2022. (Daily Item)
A former Bourne elected official has filed a lawsuit against three members of town government, claiming a recording of a private meeting with the town administrator violated his privacy rights. (Cape Cod Times)
Steven Waldman, the president of Rebuild Local News, says it’s “weirdly easy” to solve the local news crisis. (The Atlantic)