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Massachusetts talks potential offshore overhaul

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


#US #Massachusetts #Wind #Offshore

Massachusetts

After an initial agreement for 400 MW of offshore wind in Massachusetts, three electric distribution companies, along with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), submitted a 109-page draft request for proposals (RFP) considering procurement of up to 800 MW to be sent to State regulators for approval. The DOER and the three companies, Eversource, National Grid, and Unitel, would act as the evaluation team if the proposal is approved, evaluating only procurements that prove a larger-scale proposal is superior to the initial RFP, or that it produces greater economic benefits to its ratepayers. Upon approval of the draft, the three companies will then bid for contracts to purchase the energy produced by offshore wind. The team will evaluate the bids submitted in response to the first RFP, which is slotted to be submitted on 30 June 2017.

The evaluation team’s proposed RFP schedule calls for a bidders’ conference on 19 July 2017 and the following deadlines: 26 July 2017 for submission of questions and notice of intent to bid; 20 December 2017 for submission of proposals; 22 May 2018 for selection of projects for negotiation; 03 October 2018 to negotiate and execute long-term contracts; and 01 November 2018 to submit those contracts to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for approval.

Although it is not immediately clear if/when the DPU would issue a decision on the draft RFP, the State of Massachusetts has mandated 1,6 GW of offshore wind energy by 2027, 50% of which would be fulfilled if the procurement reached 800 MW as stated in the draft RFP. These actions taken by the distribution companies are demonstrative of the growing offshore energy sector currently blossoming in Massachusetts and the Northeast US, and show that the industry understands the untapped potential of offshore energy off the coast of Massachusetts.

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