Massachusetts Ocean Grid project gets FERC green light

Block Island wind farm

February 14 (Renewables Now) - Anbaric Development Partners (ADP) has been given the green light by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to solicit customers for a 2-GW to 2.4-GW offshore wind transmission project called Massachusetts Ocean Grid.

The approval gives the company the right to offer its proposed backbone transmission system in southern New England to offshore wind developers in Massachusetts. "The Massachusetts Ocean Grid will provide a common offshore interconnection point for multiple wind developers, rather than relying on each wind developer to build its own individual generator lead," ADP chief executive Edward Krapels explained in a statement on Tuesday.

The FERC order, dated February 12, authorises the company to charge negotiated rates for transmission rights on the proposed link that is to connect Massachusetts offshore wind generation to the ISO-New England Inc transmission system in Massachusetts. The project envisages two 1,000-MW HVDC transmission lines and two 1,000-MW offshore platforms sited near offshore wind lease blocks identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  

ADP, created last year by Massachusetts-based Anbaric and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, expects the first leg of the project to be in place by December 2021. Full completion is targeted by 2025.   

In 2016, Massachusetts passed legislation that requires utilities to procure 1.6 GW of offshore wind by mid-2027. The results of the first tender as part of this requirement, seeking at least 400 MW, are expected to be announced in the spring.

Krapels said that to realise the potential of offshore wind a backbone offshore grid must be carefully developed and remain independent of the individual wind farm developers. "An independent transmission system like Ocean Grid will open the offshore wind market to more than just three bidders and is critical to the Commonwealth's ability to get the competitive prices that consumers deserve," Krapels added.

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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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