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The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is soliciting construction bids for the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to support the construction, assembly and deployment of offshore wind projects.

Once constructed, the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will be the first facility in the nation designed to support the construction, assembly and deployment of offshore wind projects.

The terminal will also be able to handle high-volume bulk and container shipping, as well as large specialty marine cargo.

As part of construction, the project includes the dredging and removal of 244,600 cubic yards of contaminated sediment caused by industrial waste generated during the 1930s and 1940s, a significant environmental benefit to the city of New Bedford. The first of its kind in North America, the terminal has been engineered to sustain mobile crane and storage loads that rival the highest capacity ports in the world.

The terminal, which will be located inside New Bedford Harbor and protected by the hurricane barrier, will be in close proximity to offshore wind planning areas along the East Coast that are under consideration for development, the agency says.

According to the MassCEC, offshore wind offers the largest potential source of clean energy for Massachusetts, and its development can create a significant new industry in the state.

Bids are due Jan. 23, 2013. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013 and be completed in 2014.

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