Massachusetts’ Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved long-term contracts for 800 MW of offshore wind between Vineyard Wind and the commonwealth’s electric distribution companies (EDCs).
As laid out by the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) last year, the wind project is expected to provide Massachusetts with energy and renewable energy certificates (RECs) at a total levelized price of $0.065/kWh over the term of the utilities’ long-term contracts, both of which have a term of 20 years from the date of commercial operations. The first 400 MW phase begins Jan. 15, 2022, and the second 400 MW phase begins Jan. 15, 2023.
“This approval by the Department of Public Utilities ensures that this project – offering competitively priced and locally produced offshore wind energy to the commonwealth – can move forward,” comments Matthew Beaton, secretary of energy and environmental affairs.
In May, the wind farm was selected as the winning bid under Massachusetts’ 83C offshore wind solicitation. The EDCs filed long-term contract negotiations with the DPU last summer.
DOER said the $0.065/kWh price is “materially below the levelized projected costs of buying the same amount of wholesale energy and RECs in the market,” which is estimated to be a total levelized price of $0.079/kWh over the term of the contracts. In turn, the project is expected to provide an average of $0.014/kWh in “direct savings to ratepayers,” the department said at the time of the filing.
Additionally, Vineyard Wind has committed in these contracts to contribute $15 million to a fund that will invest in projects designed to promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities and support the commonwealth’s goal to further the development of energy storage systems across the state.
“The approval of these contracts is an important step toward the completion of the largest offshore wind project in the country, which will significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, provide Massachusetts residents and businesses with cost-effective clean energy, and promote economic development,” says Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass.
“Massachusetts is committed to being a leader in the U.S. offshore wind industry,” notes Matt Nelson, chairman of the DPU. “These contracts will provide fuel diversification in the commonwealth and enhance reliability of the regional system, continuing the commonwealth’s practice of leading the nation in innovation and renewable energy.”