Massachusetts considers options after clean energy RfP winner faces hurdle

Author: U.S. Army Corps of Engine. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

February 8 (Renewables Now) - Massachusetts officials are trying to assess the implications of New Hampshire's decision to reject the Northern Pass transmission project, the sole winner in Massachusetts' large-scale clean energy procurement process.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy request for proposals (RfP) was launched in March last year in response to a state law mandating that local utilities procure around 9.45 TWh of clean, Class 1 renewable energy through long-term contracts. Bids were evaluated by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and utilities Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES), National Grid (LON:NG) and Unitil (NYSE:UTL), and in late January Northern Pass was picked as the winner. However, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (NHSEC) last week voted to deny the project a Certificate of Site and Facility.

According to an announcement on Wednesday, DOER has written to the utilities, asking them to contact the project and request an update on its status. Officials and the utilities will discuss the matter no later than Friday. The options include proceeding with contract negotiations with Northern Pass or returning to bid selection.

The Northern Pass line would bring 1.09 GW of hydropower from Quebec, Canada, to New England. The project is put forward by Eversource and Hydro-Quebec. 

In a statement last week, Eversource said it will seek reconsideration of SEC's decision and will review "all options for moving this critical clean energy project forward." The company will be able to request a re-hearing for SEC's decision 30 days after the regulator issues a written decision.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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