Massachusetts offshore wind RFP

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Massachusetts' investor-owned electric distribution companies have issued a joint Request for Proposals for offshore wind energy projects.  Through the RFP, the utilities seek proposals for 400 megawatts (or more) of qualifying offshore wind energy generation and associated transmission, with winning bidders earning 15- to 20-year long-term contracts to sell project power.   This Massachusetts offshore wind RFP is designed as the first step in a staggered procurement schedule for compliance with a 2016 state law requiring the utilities to contract for 1,600 MW of aggregate nameplate capacity of offshore renewable generation by June 30, 2027.

In 2016, the Massachusetts legislature enacted the Energy Diversity Act, adding a new Section 83C to the Green Communities Act.  Section 83C provides in relevant part, "In order to facilitate the financing of offshore wind energy generation resources in the commonwealth, not later than June 30, 2017, every distribution company shall jointly and competitively solicit proposals for offshore wind energy generation; and, provided, that reasonable proposals have been received, shall enter into cost-effective long-term contracts."

The pending RFP is the first joint solicitation under Section 83C.   Through the RFP, the distribution companies are seeking to procure a total of approximately 400 MW of Offshore Wind Energy Generation.  The RFP defines this term as:
offshore electric generating resources derived from wind that: (1) are Class I renewable energy generating sources, as defined in Section 11F of Chapter 25A of the General Laws; (2) have a commercial operations date on or after January 1, 2018, that has been verified by the Department of Energy Resources; and (3) operate in a designated wind energy area for which an initial federal lease was issued on a competitive basis after January 1, 2012.
Bids are due by noon EDT on December 20, 2017.  The RFP prescribes a three-stage review process, including an initial eligibility and threshold screening, subsequent qualitative and quantitative review, and finally "further evaluation of remaining proposals to ensure selection of viable projects that provide cost -effective, reliable Offshore Wind Energy Generation with limited risk."

Pursuant to the Department of Public Utilities order approving the solicitation process, projects will be selected for negotiation by April 23, 2018, with contracts submitted for Department approval no later than July 31, 2018.

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