Mass. utilities pick offshore wind project for 804 MW of supply

Mayflower Wind Energy LLC, a joint venture of Shell New Energies US LLC and EDPR Offshore North America LLC (EDPR), has been chosen to supply 804 megawatts of energy from an offshore wind project to electricity customers within the state, Mayflower said on Oct. 30.

Mayflower Wind was selected by the state’s investor-owned utilities to move forward to contract negotiations to provide 804 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind to Massachusetts as part of the energy procurement authorized by An Act Relative to Energy Diversity, signed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in 2016.

The announcement will bring the amount of offshore wind procured under this legislation to approximately 1,600 MW.

The Mayflower Wind Project 2 804 MW Low Cost Energy bid was selected for contract negotiations based on criteria established under a Request for Proposal (RFP) including a proposed timetable and method of solicitation previously subject to public comment, and reviewed and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Criteria used in the evaluation of the bids included an economic evaluation of the benefits for ratepayers, the project’s ability to foster employment and economic development in the Commonwealth, and the project’s environmental impacts and the extent to which a project demonstrates that it avoids or mitigates impacts to regional commercial fisheries.

Mayflower Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers by delivering approximately 800 MW of offshore wind capacity per year while providing substantial ratepayer benefits.

During the bid process, Mayflower Wind proposed wind energy at a more competitive price with greater economic development opportunities for the state and the South Coast than any other bidder, according to a news release issued by the Administration of Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

Mayflower Wind said it anticipates the project, located more than 20 miles south of Nantucket with expected start-up in 2025, will provide several economic benefits including long term prices below an original price cap of $84.23/MWh and $3.7 billion in electricity rate reductions over the term of the contract.

Solicitation announced in May

A competitive solicitation was announced through issuance of the RFP on May 23, 2019 and revised on August 7, 2019 for projects between approximately 200 MW and 800 MW.

The selection of Mayflower Wind concludes a solicitation and evaluation by the Department of Energy Resources and the state’s investor-owned utilities -- Eversource, National Grid and Unitil.

By selecting Mayflower Wind, the utilities and the state have reached the initial procurement target of approximately 1,600 MW from the state’s Energy Diversity Act of 2016.

The first procurement resulted in executed and approved contracts with the Vineyard Wind 1 project for 800 MW.

The final acceptance of the bid and award of contract is conditional upon successful contract negotiations between the parties and the regulatory approval at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

 At the time of contract filing with the DPU, a public filing will be provided by the utilities detailing the evaluation process. Separately, an Independent Evaluator will prepare and submit a detailed public report on the evaluation process and outcome.

Final project selection as a result of successful contract negotiations will be made public following submittal for regulatory approval.

Other states also pursuing offshore wind

Several other states are also pursuing offshore wind.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently finalized contracts with Equinor Wind US LLC for its 816-megawatt Empire Wind Project and Sunrise Wind LLC for its 880-megawatt Sunrise Wind Project, both of which are offshore wind projects.

In August, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released a request for proposals that seeks up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind.

In June, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities unanimously granted the state’s first award for offshore wind to the Ocean Wind 1,100-megawatt project.

The BPU said that its decision sets the record for the single largest award for offshore wind in the country to date and marks further progress toward meeting the state’s goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s vision of 100 percent clean energy for the state by 2050.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo in May 2018 said that the state had selected Deepwater Wind to construct a new, 400-MW offshore wind farm.

Coalition calls for Calif. to set minimum 10 GW offshore wind goal

On the other side of the country, a newly formed coalition is calling for California to set a goal of reaching a minimum of 10 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040 in order to meet the state's commitment to 100 percent renewable power by 2045.

Calif. CCA signs MOU for supplies from 1,000-MW offshore wind farm

Monterey Bay Community Power, a California community choice aggregator, and Castle Wind LLC on Aug. 15 said that they have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines the mutual interests and intent of both parties to enter into future long-term power purchase agreements for approximately 1,000 megawatts of energy from an offshore wind project being developed by Castle Wind.

The Castle Wind Offshore wind farm project will be located on the Outer Continental Shelf, more than 30 miles from the California coastline in federally managed waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is preparing a lease auction for the project site in 2020. If awarded the lease, Castle Wind anticipates producing 1,000 MW of renewable energy around 2025.

The proposed project will be grid-connected at the Morro Bay substation in Morro Bay.

Another California CCA also pursuing offshore wind

In early 2018, another California CCA, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, offered details on its plans to move forward with what could be the first commercial floating offshore wind farm in the United States.

And in September of last year, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, with support from a consortium of private companies, submitted a lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to advance the development of the offshore wind energy project off the coast of Humboldt County, in Northern California.

The 100-150 MW floating offshore wind farm is planned to be located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.