The proposals for wind energy and transmission projects are rapidly rolling in for Massachusetts’ call for tenders for an additional 9.45 TWh of clean energy by 2022.
On March 31, the state’s electric distribution companies issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the procurement of large quantities of renewable energy, as laid out in the state’s “An Act Relative to Energy Diversity” law, signed in August 2016 by Gov. Charlie Baker. The bill requires utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1.2 GW of clean energy generation: hydropower; onshore wind and solar supported by hydropower; or stand-alone onshore wind, solar or other Class I renewable resources. The act also requires Massachusetts to generate 1.6 GW of electricity from offshore wind over the next 10 years.
Hydro-Québec is proposing six options – either 100% hydropower or a hydro-wind blend – offered over one of three proposed new transmission lines: the Northern Pass Transmission project (Eversource Energy), New England Clean Power Link project (Transmission Developers Inc.) and New England Clean Energy Connect (Central Maine Power).
The hydropower/wind option has been designed with Gaz Métro, an energy provider in Québec and New England, and Boralex, a private renewable energy power producer that has carved out a major share of the wind power market in Canada. The proposed project, SBx, is a 300 MW wind farm, which would be the fourth phase of the Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms. SBx would be entirely developed, financed, built and operated by Boralex and Gaz Métro. In each of the hydropower/wind supply options, the energy would be firmed by Hydro-Québec hydropower.
Applauding the proposals, Jean-François Nolet, vice president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, says, “Developing these projects required major investments from participating firms – which goes to show how seriously the process is being taken. If any of these projects are contracted, Quebec and host communities would see major benefits.”
CanWEA is also applauding a proposal from Emera Inc. for the construction of the Atlantic Link project, a 1 GW subsea transmission line directly connecting Atlantic Canada to the Boston load center. The Atlantic Link would deliver clean energy to Massachusetts from seven proposed wind farms and two hydro suppliers in Atlantic Canada.
The 375-mile HVDC interconnection would be located between Coleson Cove, New Brunswick, and Plymouth, Mass., near the retiring Pilgrim nuclear station. The proposal is being made as Emera completes construction this year of a 500 MW subsea cable between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. With Atlantic Link, Emera says it is offering to deliver 5.69 TWh of clean energy annually, directly to Massachusetts, for a delivered price that remains fixed for 20 years.
Avangrid and its affiliates, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables, have also submitted proposals to Massachusetts’ RFP. Though the company does not offer further details, the proposals include both joint partnerships and wholly owned Avangrid projects.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to expand Avangrid’s role in the region’s clean energy future,” states James P. Torgerson, CEO of Avangrid. “These cost-effective projects will provide all the benefits of clean, renewable energy while helping to stabilize electricity costs, create jobs and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.”
In addition, National Grid and Citizens Energy have submitted plans to develop two projects: Granite State Power Link (GSPL) and Northeast Renewable Link (NRL), which the companies say would offer nearly 9 TWh of clean energy.
Staying within or adjacent to existing transmission corridors, GSPL would add approximately 59 miles of new HVDC transmission line from a new converter station in northern Vermont to a new converter station in Monroe, N.H. The project would deliver 1.2 GW of new Quebec wind power currently in development. The project’s interconnection would require the upgrade of approximately 109 miles of existing AC transmission lines into Londonderry, N.H.
Also staying within or adjacent to existing transmission corridors, NRL would deliver up to 600 MW of new wind, solar and small hydro in New York by constructing a 23-mile, 345-kilovolt AC transmission line from National Grid’s Alps Substation in Nassau, N.Y., to Eversource’s Berkshire Substation in Hinsdale, Mass. According to the partners, the NRL would help provide a much needed source of clean energy into the New England energy grid while providing operating flexibility on the transmission system and promoting economic development along its route in New York and Massachusetts.
“With the retirement of much of the region’s fossil-fuel generating plants, Massachusetts customers need a ready path to clean, reliable, diverse power. GSPL and NRL will enable the commonwealth to meet its environmental goals by bringing large-scale, renewable energy to customers for years to come,” comments John Flynn, senior vice president of U.S. strategy and business development at National Grid. “We’re committed to engaging local stakeholders every step of the way and to maximizing the use of existing transmission corridors to reduce community and environmental impacts while bringing renewable energy and economic opportunity to the region.”
Proposed projects are expected to be evaluated until 2018.