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ISO-NE studying market impacts of up to 12 GW of offshore wind power

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Maryland sets 50% by 2030 RPS 0goal

East Coast could have almost 9 GW of capacity by 2030

New York — ISO New England is conducting three economic studies to evaluate the impact of up to 12 GW of offshore wind power on prices, the wholesale market and the transmission system as the US East Coast prepares for an influx of offshore wind power development.

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday a clean energy jobs bill that establishes a 50% by 2030 renewable portfolio standard will become law and he announced plans for Maryland to be powered by 100% clean electricity by 2040, a goal that will include offshore wind.

"Offshore wind is one of the few clean, renewable energy sources that must provide in-state jobs and is key to generating clean air benefits for all Marylanders," Salvo Vitale, country manager for Baltimore-based US Wind, said in a statement Thursday.

Offshore wind power projects are also being developed in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and New England. S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates the east coast could have nearly 9 GW of nameplate offshore wind capacity installed by 2030.

Requests to conduct the economic studies were submitted to ISO-NE by the New England States Committee on Electricity, transmission developer Anbaric Development Partners and clean energy non-profit RENEW Northeast, according to an ISO-NE presentation given during a Planning Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday.

NESCOE requested the grid operator study the transmission system and wholesale power market impacts from increasing offshore wind penetration, and Anbaric asked that impacts to energy market prices, air emissions and regional fuel security be studied.

RENEW's study request is focused on the economic impact of increased hourly operating limits on a specific potion of the transmission system as grid upgrades are made to integrate what is anticipated to be considerable volumes of offshore wind power, according to ISO-NE.

NESCOE requested evaluation of scenarios in which 1,000 MW, 2,000 MW and 7,000 MW of offshore wind are developed by 2030, as well as 5,000 MW and 7,000 MW by 2035.

Anbaric requested ISO-NE study the impacts of 8,000 MW, 10,000 MW and 12,000 MW of offshore wind power for target year 2030.

RENEW's request will be "handled in parallel to NESCOE's and Anbaric's," ISO-NE said.

Fuel prices for coal, oil, and natural gas will be based on recent forecasts from the Energy Information Administration for New England, according to the grid operator.

MASSACHUSETTS RFP

In a May 17 order, Massachusetts' Department of Public Utilities approved a petition from the local subsidiaries of Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil Corp. to issue a request for proposals for a total of 800 MW of offshore wind generation with a commercial operating date of 2024.

This will be is the second such solicitation authorized since a 2016 state law directed utilities to procure 1,600 MW of offshore wind. The utilities sought a nominal levelized price of less than $84.23/MWh, as a result of a state law requiring each subsequent round of the offshore wind RFP to deliver prices lower than the first round of contracts.

Vineyard Wind won the first contract in May 2018 with a bid for its 800-MW Vineyard Offshore Wind Project. The utilities filed power purchase agreements to buy energy and renewable energy certificates from Vineyard Wind at a total levelized price of 6.5 cents/kWh, the lowest offshore wind PPA price in the US to date, according to trade group American Wind Energy Association.

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and a subsidiary of Connecticut utility Avangrid.

-- Jared Anderson, jared.anderson@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Rocco Canonica, newsdesk@spglobal.com