PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has met with officials from the Cape Wind offshore wind project planned for Massachusetts about possibly using the state’s ports as the wind farm’s construction staging area, and a project spokesman told The Associated Press on Friday that it’s an “open question” whether a terminal planned for New Bedford will be ready for them to use when they need it.
The project is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to an area that desperately needs them. Rhode Island has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country and New Bedford, just over the border, is in one of the most economically depressed areas of Massachusetts.
Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger, said Cape Wind has been assessing the capabilities of the state’s ports at Quonset in North Kingstown and in Providence.
Construction has not yet started on the New Bedford terminal, and it is estimated to take 18 to 20 months to build, said Ed Washburn, New Bedford’s deputy port director. A permit from the Environmental Protection Agency has taken longer than expected and has not yet been issued. Washburn said it is expected in the coming weeks, and construction could start soon after that.
Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said the phase of construction that will require a port is expected to start in 2014.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.