The Washington Trust Company, the nation's oldest community bank and one of the Northeast's premier financial services companies, announced that it has made a significant commercial loan to WindServe Marine, LLC, the Atlantic Coast's leading service provider for the offshore wind industry. The funding will enable WindServe to construct three new 88-foot crew transfer vessels (CTV), recently commissioned by the largest offshore wind developer in the world, Ørsted. This strategic support for the renewable energy industry expands Washington Trust's already robust and diverse portfolio into the progressive green electricity sector, which is expected to power the future for businesses and the planet.
"Washington Trust was founded on the southwestern shoreline of Rhode Island and as a good corporate citizen, we are committed to protecting and preserving the local environment. Providing financing for alternative sources of energy that benefit this community aligns both with our business and sustainability benchmarks," says Edward O. "Ned" Handy III, Washington Trust Chairman, and CEO. "Our Commercial and Industrial team has been successful in supporting established sectors within our current loan portfolios and we're confident that broadening into the renewable energy sector will contribute to our continued strength."
The offshore wind development pipeline in the U.S. has grown to more than 40 gigawatts (GW) of potential generating capacity across 12 states. To generate 20% (or 300 GW) of the nation's electricity demand by 2030, Massachusetts and New York have recently approved two large-scale projects that will become major contributors. Financial partners play a critical role in scaling the U.S. offshore wind industry, which also supports good-paying local jobs.
WindServe's new CTV fleet will initially support the design efforts of 12 new turbines at the Southfork Wind project, located off the coast of Long Island. Once the turbines' construction is complete, the utility of the vessels will be expanded to service and maintenance to similar windfarm projects including Revolution Wind (RI and CT), and Sunrise Wind (NY).
"Washington Trust has been an excellent partner in providing us with a financial package that addresses our growth potential. Thanks to their confidence in this emerging business area, WindServe Marine will continue a century-long legacy serving the East Coast's maritime industry," said Craig Reinauer, President, and CEO of the Reinauer Group. "I believe this financial support also reflects a mutual purpose that WindServe and Washington Trust share, a sense of responsible stewardship for helping the Northeast thrive."
Construction of the vessels will be led by North Kingstown-based Senesco Marine, which has expanded its local workforce by approximately one hundred new in-state jobs to support the commissioning of this project. The completion date is projected for mid-to-late summer 2023.
"Washington Trust's longstanding presence in Rhode Island continues to bring economic growth and development to communities within the state and throughout New England," said Anthony "Tony" Botelho, Washington Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Lending Officer. "Rhode Island's official nickname is the 'Ocean State' and many residents work directly within the 'Blue Economy,' which aims to conserve marine and freshwater resources while also developing economic growth. Washington Trust believes that expanding its C&I loan portfolio demonstrates the bank's continued support of local economic needs, as well as positively contributing to global environmental and sustainability efforts."