Rhode Island Regulators Green-Light Offshore Wind PPA

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The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has unanimously approved a long-term power contract with National Grid for 400 MW of clean energy from the Revolution Wind offshore project.

The state’s regulators OK’d a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with DWW Rev I LLC, a joint venture of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Eversource.

Revolution Wind will generate enough clean energy to power more than 270,000 average Ocean State homes each year – representing about a quarter of the total electricity used by Rhode Islanders annually. The PPA reflects a flat rate over 20 years of 9.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, expected to save tens of millions dollars for Rhode Island energy customers over the life of the project, according to the developers.

“We’re grateful for the R.I. PUC’s approval of this important project. We’re ready to get to work to deliver dramatically more offshore wind energy, jobs and energy savings to Rhode Island,” states Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and president of Ørsted North America. “We’re proud to be Rhode Island’s partner in a project that builds upon the success of the Block Island Wind Farm to now truly transform the state’s energy future.”

Offshore oceanographic and geophysical survey work began in 2018. Once permits are in hand, local construction work on Revolution Wind could begin as early as 2020, with offshore installation starting in 2022 and operations in 2023.

The State of Rhode Island selected Revolution Wind in May 2018 through a competitive bid review process with Massachusetts. The project, to be located in federal waters roughly halfway between Montauk, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is designed to serve as regional energy center. Connecticut separately selected 200 MW from Revolution Wind.

“Rhode Island is making tremendous strides in achieving the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. With Revolution Wind set to deliver a quarter of the state’s total electric load, offshore wind is now poised to become a major component of the state’s energy mix,” says Lee Olivier, Eversource’s executive vice president for enterprise energy strategy and business development.

Ørsted and Eversource are committed to investing $40 million in Rhode Island for local port improvements. The companies expect to make ProvPort in Providence a major construction hub for Revolution Wind and are targeting Quonset for a long-term operations center. The project will create 800 construction jobs and 50 permanent operations and maintenance jobs, the developers estimate.

Ørsted also operates the U.S.’ first offshore wind farm – the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, developed by Deepwater Wind – in Rhode Island. The five-turbine project has been in operation since 2016. Ørsted acquired Deepwater Wind in October, creating Ørsted US Offshore Wind, jointly based in Providence and Boston.

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, D-R.I., says the PUC’s approval represents “another significant milestone for Rhode Island’s growing offshore wind industry.”

“Two years ago, I pledged to increase our clean energy portfolio 10-fold by 2020,” she says. “Today’s approval by the PUC brings us within reach of that goal.

“Rhode Island is on the front lines of climate change,” Raimondo continues. “By supporting projects like this that reduce the cost of electricity while at the same time reducing carbon emissions, we can continue to grow our green economy and cement the Ocean State’s status as a national leader in renewable energy.”

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