December 22, 2017

Off-shore wind developers make pitches for state contracts

File

Vying for a long-term contract for the first Massachusetts offshore wind farm, energy companies made their pitches to state officials Wednesday.

Deepwater Wind, Vineyard Wind and Ørsted, the Danish company formerly known as DONG Energy, each responded to a request for proposals from the Department of Energy Resources for offshore wind projects.

A 2016 law required Massachusetts utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind and 1,200 megawatts of new hydropower, solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2027. Proposals for projects generating 945 megawatts of clean power were due in July. The RFP that closed Wednesday solicited between 400 and 800 megawatts of offshore wind.

In the earlier solicitation, Deepwater Wind proposed an initial 144-megawatt phase of an offshore wind farm dubbed Revolution Wind, to be built southwest of Martha's Vineyard. The company said its new proposal would allow Revolution Wind to be built at various sizes up to 400 megawatts in its first phase.

Deepwater touted what it called an "innovative feature" that would enable energy delivery to be scheduled to meet peak energy demand: a partnership with FirstLight Power Resources' Northfield Mountain storage facility.

"Our offshore wind solution can replace power plants of prior generations that are now retiring," Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement. "Offshore wind produces a massive amount of clean energy and we can now deliver that power even when the wind is not blowing."

Ørsted's Bay State Wind project, which would be 25 miles off the coast of New Bedford, could provide 500,000 Massachusetts homes with power and includes a 55-megawatt battery storage system to help insure power is available during peak hours.

"The partnership between Ørsted and Eversource brings together local experience, international expertise and unbeatable financial strength," Thomas Brostrøm, Ørsted's president of North America, said in a statement. "This project is poised to be the most technologically advanced offshore wind farm providing energy at the lowest cost to consumers, all while bringing significant environmental and community benefits."

Erich Stephens, the chief development officer of Vineyard Wind, said his company is submitting one 400-megawatt proposal and one 800-megawatt proposal and simultaneously submitting applications for required federal and state construction permits. Vineyard Wind would also set up an "accelerator fund" to help wind businesses from Europe come into Massachusetts, adding incentives for them to relocate here sooner than they otherwise might, Stephens said.

"We want to stay on track to be able to go to construction in 2019, so that we can be generating our first electricity in 2021, so we think this would make us the first large-scale commercial offshore wind project in the U.S., and we think that's important for Massachusetts for a few different reasons, one of which is job creation and economic development opportunities," Stephens told the News Service.

The Vineyard Wind project has letters of support from "all the towns that are closest to the project," Stephens said -- Nantucket and the six towns on Martha's Vineyard.

The companies did not discloses cost details in releases announcing their bids.

According to a timeline laid out in the request for proposals, officials plan to select projects for negotiation by April 23, 2018 and negotiate and execute long-term contracts by July 2, with the contracts submitted to the Department of Public Utilities for approval by July 31.

Comments

Type your comment here:

Today's Poll Are you concerned about sexual harassment being a problem in your workplace?<>
ADVERTISEMENTS
Most Popular on Facebook
Copyright 2017 New England Business Media