The electric distribution companies in the state of Massachusetts are seeking regulatory approval for a request for proposals (RfP) to procure up to 800 MW of offshore wind generation, it was announced on Monday.
Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil submitted a request to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on April 28, asking it to approve the proposed RfP.
Last year, Massachusetts adopted legislation which requires utilities to purchase some 1,600 MW of offshore wind by June 30, 2027, with an initial solicitation of at least 400 MW in 2017.
The utilities say in the filing that through the RfP they want to procure 400 MW and will consider procuring up to 800 MW if a larger proposal is determined to provide more benefits. Bids will be evaluated by the utilities and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
The RfP is to be issued on June 30, with proposals due by December 20. The deadline for selecting projects for negotiation is May 22, 2018. Under the draft RfP, each bidder should submit at least one proposal of 400 MW and may also submit alternative proposals of at least 200 MW and up to 800 MW. The projects should be operational by January 1, 2027. They will be awarded long-term contracts of 15 to 20 years.
Massachusetts' offshore wind plans came as a major boost to the industry in the US, which is still in its infancy with only 30 MW of installed offshore wind capacity. The emerging sector, however, is attracting strong interest, including from experienced players such as Dong Energy A/S (CPH:DENERG). The Danish company officially opened its North American headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts last week. Other European energy majors such as Statoil (STO:STLO) and Iberdrola (BME:IBE) are also eyeing US offshore wind opportunities.
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