The Winds of May
June 6, 2017
Electric utilities National Grid, Eversource Energy, and Unitil submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) that included a timeline, method, and provisions for soliciting and executing long-term contracts for offshore wind energy as required by Section 83C of “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity.” Section 83C recognizes the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind and directs the DPU to weigh both types of benefits.
Once the filing with DPU is approved, the utilities will be able to seek bids for 400 MW—and possibly up to 800 MW—of offshore wind energy for January 2018 or later. The draft proposal to DPU included a project operation deadline of 2027. Once finalized, this will be the first competitive solicitation for commercial-scale offshore wind in the U.S.; all eyes are on Massachusetts as it designs a timeframe and process that maximizes both the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind generation.
While the development approaches are different, both companies will have an impact on the local supply chain. In fact, the Public Service Commission stipulated 30 conditions with the OREC awards. Each developer had until May 25 to notify the PSC whether it would accept the terms of the awards, which include:
- An investment of a combined minimum of $76 million in local steel fabrication capacity
- A commitment to creating at least 4,977 direct jobs during the development, construction, and operation phases
- A contribution of $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund
- A commitment to jointly invest at least $39.6 million in port upgrades at Tradepoint Atlantic, a shipping terminal in Baltimore, and
- A commitment to use the port facilities in Ocean City and the greater Baltimore region for construction, operations, and maintenance.
For more information on the Maryland OREC awards, click here. For more information on the draft RFP filed with the Massachusetts’ DPU, click here.
Lead image credit: joegough | Bigstock.com