Massachusetts utilities Eversource Energy, National Grid USA, and Unitil Corp. have jointly issued a request for proposals to procure between 400 MW and 800 MW of offshore wind energy. This is the second solicitation by the utilities as part of a larger state-directed mandate to procure 1,600 MW of offshore wind.
Issued May 23, the utilities' request, or RFP, is offering 15- to 20-year power purchase agreements for supply ranging from 200 MW to 800 MW. The RFP limits eligibility to bids from offshore wind projects located on the outer continental shelf that do not have a turbine located within 10 miles of an inhabited area. The RFP terms further require the offshore wind project to be located in a designated wind energy area where the developer holds a federal lease competitively obtained after 2011.
All four offshore wind developers that have leases in nearby federal waters — Vineyard Wind LLC, which won the first contract in May 2018 with its 800-MW Vineyard Offshore Wind Project; Bay State Wind LLC; Mayflower Wind Energy LLC; and Equinor Wind US LLC — commented in the preparations for this second round of bidding.
In a May 17 decision, Massachusetts' Department of Public Utilities accepted the utilities' proposed timetable, which calls for an Aug. 9 deadline for confidential proposal submissions followed by an Aug. 16 due date for public proposal submissions. The utilities plan to select winning projects on Nov. 8, in time to negotiate and execute contracts by Dec. 13 and submit those contracts to the DPU for regulatory approval on Jan. 10, 2020.
Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S and Avangrid Inc.'s Avangrid Renewables LLC subsidiary. The majority stakeholder of Avangrid is Iberdrola SA. Bay State Wind is a joint venture between Ørsted A/S and Eversource. Mayflower Wind is a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary Shell New Energies US LLC and EDPR Offshore North America LLC, a subsidiary of EDP - Energias de Portugal SA. Equinor Wind US is a subsidiary of Equinor ASA.