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Massachusetts offshore wind round draws three bidders

Bay State Wind, Mayflower Wind Energy and Vineyard Wind submit proposals with selection of projects for supply contract negotiations set for 8 November

Massachusetts electric distribution companies (EDCs) received bids from three developers – Bay State Wind, Mayflower Wind Energy and Vineyard Wind – in response to their second request for proposals (RFP) in May for up to 800MW of offshore wind generation capacity, a state official told Recharge.

The redacted public versions of the Bay State and Mayflower bids, and executive summary for Vineyard’s, were posted late on Wednesday on the Massachusetts Clean Energy website.

Bay State, a joint venture of Denmark’s Orsted and US regional utility Eversource, submitted bids for both 400MW and 800MW projects. Mayflower, jointly owned by Portuguese utility EDPR and Shell New Energies, set forth three 800MW proposals and one for 400MW.

Vineyard, owned 50% each by Iberdrola’s Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, submitted one proposal for a 400MW project and two for 800MW arrays.

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All three developers control lease areas in Atlantic federal waters off the southern coast of Massachusetts. So does Equinor, which did not submit a bid after paying $135m last December for a 33-year lease.

Key dates in the timeline set by the Evaluation Team that includes the EDCs and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) are 8 November for selection of projects for negotiation of long-term energy supply contracts; 13 December to execute the contracts and 20 January 2020 to submit them to the Department of Public Utilities for approval.

That timeline is subject to change by the Evaluation Team which is overseen by an independent evaluator.

The Massachusetts General Court, or legislature, in the fiscal year 2020 budget eliminated a so-called price cap that would have required developers to bid power prices below those contracted with Vineyard in the first 800MW solicitation last year. The cap will be re-established in 2021.

Vineyard, whose $2.8bn project south of Martha's Vineyard faces federal regulatory delays until at least March next year, is contracted to deliver a first year levelised $74/MWh for the initial 400MW starting on 15 January 2022 and first year levelised $65/MWh for the balance a year later.

Katie Gronendyke, press secretary at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the responses to the RFP were an "important step" toward procurement of electric power from offshore wind that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates local jobs and and provides ratepayers with clean, reliable energy.

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