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Massachusetts aims to seek 3.6 GW of offshore wind

4C Offshore | James Bernthal-Hooker
By: James Bernthal-Hooker 03/05/2023 Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The US state of Massachusetts is planning to procure up to 3,600 MW of offshore wind in its 2023/4 solicitation.

The commonwealth's Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and electric distribution companies (EDCs) have jointly filed a draft request for proposals. Assuming that it is approved, this will be the state’s largest offshore wind solicitation to date – and its fourth.

3,600 MW represents 25% of Massachusetts’ annual electricity demand and more than doubles last year’s procurement.

“We are excited to announce the first offshore wind procurement of our administration – the biggest in our region’s history,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This draft RFP is a signal to the rest of the world that Massachusetts is all-in on offshore wind and ready to be the industry’s hub. Our proposal is also a commitment to Massachusetts ratepayers to chase after all clean energy for our homes and businesses.”

According to the draft RFP, DOER will evaluate bids based on direct and indirect costs and benefits, environmental and socioeconomic impacts from siting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion plans. Unlike in previous solicitations, this one clarifies weight that will be given to “robust economic development proposals that support minority- and women-owned businesses and support for low-income workers, workers of color, and workers from impacted environmental justice communities.”

It also requires projects to develop environmental and fisheries mitigation plans, and the evaluation will consider the bidder’s experience and track record.

This last point calls to mind the current issues around Commonwealth Wind, Avangrid’s proposed project which was successful in a 2021 procurement. Avangrid sought to nullify its PPA with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), calling the project “unfinanceable” as-is but this request was denied, and the PPA was approved. Avangrid has consistently reiterated its intention to re-bid the project in the next round.

The draft RFP includes a timeline wherein bids are due by 31st January 2024. Bids can range in size from 400 MW to 2,400 MW, and bidders must detail how they would use tax credits.

“This RFP was drafted to boost the offshore wind industry to ensure that Massachusetts ratepayers and businesses get the affordable, clean energy they deserve and that we drive economic development across our region,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The clean energy transition is about the people of Massachusetts. Aggressively procuring wind energy will deliver cleaner air, lower energy bills, and good-paying jobs.”

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.


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