Massachusetts set to double offshore wind power goal

State energy officials say extra 1.6GW of procurement would be good for billpayers

The US state of Massachusetts is set to double its planned procurement of offshore wind after energy officials decided tapping up to 3.2GW would benefit billpayers.

The state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recommends the second tranche, adding to the 1.6GW of procurement already underway, in its conclusions of a study ordered by governor Charlie Baker.

DOER “recommends that the additional solicitations take place in 2022 and 2024, in order to strike a balance between capturing cost effectiveness offered by later procurements while providing a steady pipeline of solicitations to spur and maintain economic development opportunities”.

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The body concludes: “Based on the analyses in our study, an additional solicitation of 1,600MW will likely provide benefits for Massachusetts ratepayers in excess of the anticipated costs of the contracts as long as offshore wind pricing remains similar to the first 83C solicitation or continues to decline.”

The state’s existing offshore wind programme already requires state utilities to tap into 1.6GW off its coasts. The first 800MW chunk was secured in May 2018 by Vineyard Wind, the project owned jointly by Iberdrola-controlled Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

Vineyard is currently racing ahead to become America’s first large-scale offshore wind farm when it begins operation in 2021.

A request for proposals (RFP) has just been launched that could see another 800MW allocated by the end of this year.

As well as the clean power benefits, Massachusetts has a firm eye on the supply chain benefits that could come with being an offshore wind pioneer in the US northeast, where several states are active in the sector.

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