NORTH KINGSTOWN – Quonset Development Corporation’s board of directors approved a lease option Tuesday for Cape Wind Associates LLC for property that could be used for staging components for the Massachusetts energy company’s planned 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
“If the offshore wind industry develops, we’re on the leading edge,” Steven J. King, managing director of Quonset Development Corporation, told Providence Business News Wednesday. “As the industry unfolds, manufacturing to support the development of these projects could be sited here at Quonset.”
The lease option agreement includes the creation of an estimated 50 to 100 jobs, King said.
Cape Wind has 12 months to exercise the lease option, with documents for the agreement expected to be finalized in mid-August.
The option is for lease of two properties. One is an 11.6-acre parcel to be used for storage and some assembly of the large turbine components. No building is planned for the site. The second parcel is 2.2 acres at Terminal 4 at the Port of Davisville, expected to be used for components going to the offshore wind farm site. Because of the size of ships delivering components from Europe, they are expected to arrive at another terminal at the Port of Davisville.
Cape Wind will pay Quonset $4,333 per month to hold the property, said King. Once Cape Wind executes the lease, the wind energy company will pay $229,000 per year.
“This is still a lease option and Cape Wind does not have an obligation to execute it,” said King.
Massachusetts and New Bedford officials have been showcasing construction of the state-financed $100 million New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, built specifically to handle the heavy loads of the turbine components, as well as other cargo. Massachusetts and New Bedford officials have said the project is intended to create a hub for the offshore wind industry.
A growing offshore wind industry will likely be a regional enterprise, and King expects both Quonset and the New Bedford terminal facilities will be used to support the industry.
Quonset Development already has a lease option with Providence-based Deepwater Wind for staging and some assembly of components for its planned five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm.
Final approval for the five-turbine Deepwater Wind project is expected be issued by the end of July, said Michael Elliott, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the Block Island Wind Farm.