An 800 MW offshore wind farm proposed by Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), has been selected as the winning bid under Massachusetts’ 83C offshore wind solicitation.
Today, Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) and the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) completed their evaluation of bids under their offshore wind request for proposals (RFP). Last month, when the EDCs requested a month-long extension to select a winner, they said they had received roughly 20 separate bids. Other notable proposals came from Bay State Wind and Deepwater Wind. Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project was also selected today through Rhode Island’s participation in Massachusetts’ clean energy procurement process.
In 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an energy law that requires Massachusetts to generate 1.6 GW of electricity from offshore wind over the next 10 years, resulting in resulting in interest by developers to participate in the procurement process for long-term offshore wind contracts.
“Vineyard Wind is proud to be selected to lead the new Massachusetts offshore wind industry into the future,” says Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “Today’s announcement reflects the strong commitment to clean energy by Governor Baker and the Massachusetts legislature.”
According to the Baker-Polito administration, Vineyard Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers. Today’s selection concludes a thorough review by DOER, Eversource, National Grid and Unitil. The process was closely monitored by an independent evaluator and jointly chosen by the DOER and the attorney general, who was responsible for overseeing the process to ensure that all proposals were evaluated in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner.
“Today’s announcement brings the commonwealth one step closer to achieving our administration’s goals of creating a clean, reliable and cost-effective energy future for Massachusetts residents and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change,” says Baker. “By positioning Massachusetts as a hub for the emerging offshore wind industry, this competitive procurement will ensure the commonwealth continues to lead the nation in innovation and renewable energy generation.”
“Vineyard Wind’s partners are eager to deliver an offshore wind project that will provide the commonwealth with abundant clean energy resources for decades to come,” adds Laura Beane, president and CEO of Avangrid Renewables. “Today’s announcement serves to further illustrate the AVANGRID companies’ commitment to deliver value and opportunity in a region that is determined to address complex energy challenges through significant investments in clean energy infrastructure.”
“The Vineyard Wind team is honored to be chosen to provide clean wind energy for communities across Massachusetts,” notes Torsten Lodberg Smed, senior partner with CIP. “CIP is committed to continue to move forward with our plan to make Vineyard Wind the first operational large-scale offshore wind project in the United States.”
Under Massachusetts law, the selection of Vineyard Wind by the EDCs and DOER allows all parties to begin negotiations to secure all necessary transmission services and power purchase agreements to facilitate the delivery of offshore wind to Massachusetts customers. Once satisfactory contract terms are secured, those documents will be submitted to the Massachusetts DPU for formal review as set forth in the 83C process.
Vineyard Wind says it is the only offshore wind farm developer to begin both the state and federal permitting processes by filing an environmental notification form (ENF) and construction and operations plan in December 2017. The company says its early timeline was designed to maximize the abundant environmental, economic and energy benefits associated with utility-scale wind energy for Bay State residents and businesses.
Vineyard Wind says it will continue to refine the project design and approach as it receives additional comments from regulators and stakeholders. The company notes it has been especially focused on receiving input from the fishing industry and has
already held more than 100 meetings with fishermen or fishing organizations since 2016.
Vineyard Wind also recently submitted the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report with state regulators. The filing advances the company’s proposal to construct the wind farm, located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, while maintaining its early timetable to begin construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021.
When completed, the project is expected to reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads, the developer says.
Vineyard Wind’s proposal also committed $15 million to three initiatives designed to make Massachusetts the center of the American offshore wind industry. The commitment includes a $10 million Wind Accelerator Fund to accelerate the development of an offshore wind supply chain; a $2 million Windward Workforce program to recruit, mentor and train residents for careers in offshore wind; and a $3 million Marine Mammals and Wind Fund to fund the development and demonstration of methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals.