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Developer seeks FERC approvals tied to large offshore wind transmission project


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Developer seeks FERC approvals tied to large offshore wind transmission project

The developer of a large offshore power transmission project designed to deliver power produced by wind projects off the shore of Massachusetts to the ISO New England transmission grid is asking federal regulators for needed key approvals.

Anbaric Development Partners, or ADP, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 13 for permission to sell transmission rights at negotiated rates over its planned integrated offshore transmission system. Dubbed Ocean Grid, the project would entail the construction of two 1,000-MW to 1,200-MW high-voltage direct current, or HVDC, transmission lines, each running approximately 40 miles to 60 miles in length before interconnecting with the ISO-NE's transmission system in southeast Massachusetts.

According to the filing, ADP expects the entire project, including a 500-MW alternating current connection between two HVDC offshore platforms, will be operational by 2025, with the first HVDC line placed into service by December 2021.

ADP is developing Ocean Grid in response a 2016 Massachusetts law requiring the state's electric distribution companies — Eversource Energy, National Grid plc and Unitil Corp. — to sign contracts lasting between 15 years and 20 years to purchase up to 1,600 MW of capacity from offshore wind generating facilities by no later than June 30, 2027.

In addition to its request for negotiated rate authority, ADP asked FERC to grant it certain waivers and approve its framework for conducting an open solicitation process, further requesting that the agency do so before Feb. 12, 2018.

Strictly a developer of energy transmission and microgrid projects, ADP was formed by Anbaric Holding, or Anbaric, and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which respectively own 60% and 40% of ADP.

Anbaric or previous entities have been involved in a number of other high-profile, largely underwater, transmission projects, including the Neptune project connecting New Jersey to Long Island and the Hudson project connecting New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan, both of which are in service.

In addition, Anbaric is developing a number of other independent transmission projects, including the proposed 1,200-MW HVDC Maine Green Line transmission project to connect northern Maine to coastal southern Massachusetts and the planned 1,000-MW HVDC West Point transmission system linking central and southeastern New York. The company also is developing the 500-MW HVDC Poseidon project to supply up to 500 MW of renewable energy from generating facilities in the PJM Interconnection to a New York substation.

Moreover, Anbaric for more than six years has been actively working on developing an integrated offshore wind transmission system in Massachusetts, including its Bay State integrated offshore wind collection system off the coast of Massachusetts. Like Ocean Grid, the Bay State project is designed to interconnect 1,000 MW of offshore wind generation to the ISO-NE grid. However, after the ISO-NE in February 2015 made substantive changes to its treatment of requests to interconnect projects such as Bay State, Anbaric withdrew its request to interconnect with the ISO-NE system.

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But with the passage of the 2016 Massachusetts law, Anbaric said the conditions now are ripe for the development of offshore wind generation in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts. The company therefore wants to build the expandable Ocean Grid project, which is designed to support at least 2,000 MW of offshore wind generation stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Massachusetts.

Ocean Grid's two offshore platforms will be located up to 25 miles apart and serve as collection points to integrate the output from offshore wind generators. Both platforms will be linked to two separate subsea cables that will deliver the power back to substations on the mainland. Those substations will convert the DC input into AC power output at 345 kV before it is delivered to a nearby 345-kV substation.

Once Ocean Grid becomes operational, the developers will allow the ISO-NE to control the project and dispatch offshore wind generation that is delivered to the ISO-NE system.

Ocean Grid told FERC that its request for negotiated rate authority satisfies all of the agency's requirements for granting such requests, including a commitment to hold an effective open solicitation process. After that process is complete, the company said it will submit a rate filing with FERC disclosing the results of the open solicitation and capacity allocation process.

As for the requested waivers, ADP said FERC routinely grants such waivers for entities selling transmission at negotiated rates. (FERC docket ER18-435)