Mayflower Wind's new CEO Francis Slingsby joins the Shell-Ocean Winds joint venture at a fraught moment for the developer and wider US offshore sector as they grapple with power deals said to have been rendered uneconomic by recent events.
Slingsby was this week confirmed as successor to Michael Brown, who will now lead Ocean Winds’ US offshore wind division and will continue on Mayflower’s board of directors.
Slingsby comes to Mayflower from Orsted, where he played several key roles in the Danish developer’s climb to the top of US offshore wind in terms of capacity pipeline.
“Mayflower Wind has successfully built a leadership position in the offshore wind market, and we will continue to develop projects and build new opportunities for our communities,” said Slingsby.
He arrived amid a dispute over power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Massachusetts utility board.
Last month, Mayflower joined Avangrid, which is also developing offshore wind projects in Massachusetts, in calling for a pause in the final approval of PPAs already signed with New England utility companies, before in Mayflower's case later recommitting to the deals.
The developers were hoping to gain time to advocate for a bump in the agreed upon PPA rates to compensate for the impacts of inflation, high interest rates, and supply chain turmoil.
Mayflower’s first 804MW project was awarded in the Massachusetts round two auction in 2019 for $77.76 per MWh, at the time a new low for the US offshore wind sector. The developer went on to beat its own record in the state’s round three, with a winning bid of $75/MWh for 405MW capacity.
Mayflower had earlier argued that when the 20-year PPAs were originally submitted for approval, they represented financeable projects, but significant changes in global supply and macroeconomics “have come into play”.
“Under the current PPAs, the resource may no longer be economic and financeable,” Mayflower said.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the state agency charged with overseeing contracts between power producers and distributors, rejected the motion and demanded that the developers either stand by their PPAs as signed or walk away.
After assuming his post, Slingsby said: “Mayflower Wind is committed to meeting its contractual obligations to supply clean offshore wind power to the people of Massachusetts,” in response to the DPU’s demand.
Mayflower added it would provide evidence from third parties detailing why the projects are no longer economic and seek solutions.
“Working together with the utility companies and the Commonwealth [state] we can collaboratively and successfully address and overcome the current extraordinary economic challenges.”