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RI regulators OK National Grid power purchase deal for offshore wind project

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RI regulators OK National Grid power purchase deal for offshore wind project

Rhode Island regulators approved 20-year power purchase agreement under which a local subsidiary of National Grid USA will obtain 400 MW from the Revolution Wind Offshore project.

In a May 28 news release, Ørsted A/S unit Ørsted US Offshore Wind — formerly Deepwater Wind LLC until Denmark-based Ørsted acquired it — announced that the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission had unanimously approved the power supply contract between the National Grid PLC utility, known legally as Narragansett Electric Co., and DWW Rev I LLC, a joint venture between Ørsted and New England utility Eversource Energy.

In its decision, which has yet to be finalized and published, the PUC accepted a proposal that National Grid pay $98.425/MWh for offshore wind-generated electricity, but the regulator rejected the utility's request that it be reimbursed 2.75% of its annual payment to cover any risks incurred from the contract.

Revolution Wind was selected in May 2018 as the winning bid in a procurement to help Rhode Island meet its goal of obtaining 1,000 MW from offshore wind resources by 2020. It will be the second offshore wind farm to supply power to the state and will provide about a fourth of its electricity needs. The 700-MW facility will be in federal waters roughly halfway between Montauk, N.Y., and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., and its remaining 300 MW of output is slated for Connecticut consumers.

Once permits are obtained, Ørsted said construction work on Revolution Wind will begin as early as 2020, with offshore installation starting in 2022 and the project's operations starting in 2023. Offshore oceanographic and geophysical survey work began in 2018, the company said.

Notably, Ørsted and Eversource have committed to investing $40 million in Rhode Island for local port improvements to make the Port of Providence a major construction hub for Revolution Wind. Ørsted and Eversource, which jointly own leases capable of delivering more than 4,000 MW of offshore wind energy to New England and New York, also want to make the Quonset Point peninsula, in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, Revolution Wind's long-term operations center.

A follow-up "clean" energy request for proposals that National Grid issued in September 2018 at the direction of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, led to then-Deepwater Wind LLC submitting a bid to expand Revolution Wind, previously proposed at 600 MW, by 100 MW. National Grid is scheduled to select conditional winning responses to the request June 14, in time to submit contracts to the PUC for regulatory approval by mid-October.