The state of Connecticut chose Vineyard Wind’s 804MW Park City project as the winner of its latest competitive solicitation for offshore wind capacity, citing its economic development benefits and lowest price to date in the rapidly growing US market.
Vineyard will build the facility, which will supply the equivalent of 14% of the state’s electric power, in the same lease area in federal waters off the southern coast of Massachusetts as its pioneering 800MW project – the nation’s first at utility-scale.
Vineyard – a 50-50 joint venture of Iberdrola’s 81.5% owned Avangrid and Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners - will now negotiate 20-year contracts with Connecticut’s two electric utilities. It will deliver the electricity to shore for a connection with the ISO New England grid utilising the same transmission corridor as the Massachusetts array.
State regulators did not disclose the winning price submitted by Vineyard. Last year, the developer won Massachusetts’ initial offshore wind tender by bidding $74/MWh in the first year for the initial 400MW capacity and $65/MWh for the 400MW balance over 20 years. Those are the industry's lowest contracted prices thus far.
In 2018, Connecticut in its first offshore wind tender selected the Orsted-Eversource joint venture to supply 204MW capacity at a leverlised price of $94/MWh over 20 years from the planned 704MW Revolution Wind to face the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. State utilities later contracted an additional 100MW capacity.
For Connecticut, Vineyard hopes to capture some benefit from the federal investment tax credit - now worth 12% of capital expenditure for offshore wind projects - that is set to expire at the end of this month.
Slated for switch-on in 2025, Park City will replace fossil-fuel plant that would have produced 25 million tonnes of CO 2 . Vineyard Wind estimates that the project will generate $890m in direct economic development in Connecticut and 2,800 direct full-time employment years.
Vineyard in October unveiled a plan to re-develop waterfront industrial property in Bridgeport, to fabricate transition pieces for Park City and a base for an operations and maintenance facility.
Park City represents the largest purchase of renewable energy in Connecticut’s history, more than doubling the volume of new zero-carbon renewable energy procured by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (Deep) to date.
“Connecticut is diversifying its offshore wind portfolio with this latest procurement selection, which sets up Connecticut as a regional leader in the creation of a thriving industry that will bring tangible benefits for our state and the entire region,” said governor Ned Lamont, who in June signed into law the public act that cleared the way for the RPF.
Deep commissioner Katie Dykes stated: “The climate crisis is no longer a future problem, and the time for action is now. The selection of this project demonstrates that a zero-carbon electric future is attainable in a relatively short period of time. By leveraging competition, Deep is securing the best value for ratepayers as we advance climate solutions and grow clean energy jobs here in our state.”
Lars Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind, said: “Today’s announcement takes Connecticut one step closer to being the epicenter of the new offshore wind industry, with thriving ports in both Bridgeport and New London.
“We look forward to building on the work already underway with a network of project partners, local officials, the maritime community, other developers, and all stakeholders involved to make Connecticut a hub for the offshore wind industry in the US for decades to come.”
Liz Burdock, CEO of US offshore wind business network BNOW, said: “This project takes the US offshore wind industry over 9000MW of energy under-development, and is more proof that New England is moving forward on a state and regional basis to drive the industry. This will add significantly to the development of the offshore wind supply chain and economic development all along the coast of New England.”
Burdock noted that in making the award, Connecticut Deep said Vineyard offered a price for Park City that is “lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America”.