Connecticut officials in June announced they would purchase 200 MW of output from the Revolution Wind project, adding to Rhode Island’s 400-MW procurement. (See Conn. Awards 200-MW OSW, 50-MW Fuel Cell Deals.)
The additional 100-MW “procurement is another step forward for Connecticut in growing its commitment to offshore wind,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst at Acadia Center. “Adding more offshore wind to the state’s clean energy portfolio will continue the momentum of this growing industry … To ensure continued growth of this industry in Connecticut, the state should set an offshore wind mandate similar to other east coast states.”
Read the full article from RTO Insider here (article may be behind paywall).
Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst at Acadia Center, called the offshore wind procurement “another step forward for Connecticut.”
“Adding more offshore wind to the state’s clean energy portfolio will continue the momentum of this growing industry,” she said. “By carving out a portion of this RFP for offshore wind, the state is working to incrementally build its clean energy economy.”
Lewis said it seemed like Connecticut was “being a little shy” to enter the offshore wind game compared to Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. She noted the Acadia Center and Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs called on the state to set “an offshore wind mandate similar to other East Coast states.”
Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).
HARTFORD, CT – Today, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) selected Ørsted US Offshore Wind’s proposal for 100 MW of offshore wind as one of the winning renewable energy bids in its Zero Carbon Resource request for proposals. DEEP also selected Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, and about 165 MW of solar projects – some including storage – to move forward to contract negotiations. The winning proposal from Ørsted US Offshore Wind, formerly Deepwater Wind, is an expansion of the 200 MW Revolution Wind project chosen this summer that was approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority last week. The expansion is estimated to power an additional 45,000 homes.
The full details of the bid are still hidden until the contracts are completed, but public documents showed that Ørsted US Offshore Wind committed an additional $13.7 million to Connecticut and New London in their proposal for port enhancements, economic development, and education.
“This procurement is another step forward for Connecticut in growing its commitment to offshore wind,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst at Acadia Center. “Adding more offshore wind to the state’s clean energy portfolio will continue the momentum of this growing industry. By carving out a portion of this RFP for offshore wind, the state is working to incrementally build its clean energy economy. To ensure continued growth of this industry in Connecticut, the state should set an offshore wind mandate similar to other east coast states.”
“This announcement is good news for our workers and their communities, as it expands the new offshore wind industry’s footprint in Connecticut and demonstrates the state’s interest in securing a share of the highly-paid offshore wind jobs coming to the Northeast,” said John Humphries, lead organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. “However, this is a very timid step in comparison to other states in the region, and Connecticut needs to make a long-term commitment to a more substantial procurement to attract investments in manufacturing and supply chain activities. We hope the incoming administration will support a more aggressive approach to offshore wind procurement and investment in order to take full advantage of the economic opportunity this industry represents.”
BOSTON – Today, Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the MA Department of Energy Resources, selected Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind proposal and will begin contract negotiations. Simultaneously, Rhode Island selected one of the other two bidders in the competitive selection process, Deepwater Wind, to build a new wind farm for the state. The decision moves large-scale offshore wind one step closer to construction in the Northeast, and it expands Rhode Island’s offshore wind capacity by more than ten times. Vineyard Wind’s winning project in Massachusetts will provide 800 MW of electricity to the state—enough to power about 440,000 homes—with the first phase coming online as early as 2021. The Deepwater Wind project will provide 400 MW of electricity, powering about 225,000 homes.
“Acadia Center congratulates Massachusetts and Rhode Island for taking these crucial steps that cement them as leaders on offshore wind,” said Deborah Donovan, Acadia Center’s Massachusetts Director. “Massachusetts is now leading the region and the country in offshore wind development and is making strides to fulfill its promise to clean energy. The Commonwealth is locking in its position as the offshore wind hub for the Northeast, and both states will reap early economic benefits from their commitment to this clean energy technology.”
In addition to providing clean energy, the Vineyard Wind proposal contains several provisions to boost the Massachusetts economy, including use of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal and $15 million of investment in a Massachusetts Offshore Wind Accelerator Program. Vineyard Wind expects the project to generate about 3,600 jobs. The proposal also includes innovative community partnerships, support for low-income ratepayers and a demonstration of battery energy storage benefits. Acadia Center urges the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to advance the process to secure these benefits by submitting negotiated contracts to the Department of Public Utilities for approval on schedule, by July 31, 2018.
Rhode Island’s selection of Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project will also create hundreds of local and indirect jobs. Erika Niedowski, Acadia Center Policy Advocate in Rhode Island, said of the project, “With the Block Island wind farm, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to produce electricity through offshore wind. Today’s announcement shows the state’s commitment to making clean energy generation available to all residents while spurring the economy and reducing climate pollution.”
“Massachusetts and Rhode Island are setting the example for how the Northeast states can commit to and follow through on large-scale offshore wind developments,” said Emily Lewis, policy analyst at Acadia Center. “Today’s announcement should inspire all the Northeast states to set their own offshore wind commitments, and states with existing processes should keep things moving forward. We hope to hear from Connecticut on their RFP in June as planned, for example.”
Following Massachusetts’ announcement that it would bring 1600 MW of offshore wind to the state by 2027, New York committed to 2400 MW by 2030 and New Jersey to 3500 MW by 2030. Currently, as part of its commitment, New York is soliciting input to inform an upcoming request for proposals. Connecticut is currently evaluating three offshore wind proposals for up to 200 MW. Acadia Center’s EnergyVision 2030 suggests that New England and New York should develop 6400 MW of offshore wind by 2030 to stay on track to meet their emissions reduction targets.
BOSTON—Acadia Center is calling for a public review and full transparency following yesterday’s announcement that Northern Pass Transmission’s hydro-only bid, a partnership between Eversource and Hydro Quebec, was selected as the sole winner of the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP.
The RFP, called for by a 2016 energy law, sought clean energy for about 17% of Massachusetts’ annual electricity needs. Although more than 40 bids were submitted in the summer of 2017—including several with a blend of on-shore wind and hydroelectricity, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and a group of Massachusetts utilities, which included Eversource, chose one controversial project, owned in large part by a subsidiary of Eversource. As the winning bid, Eversource and Hydro-Quebec will begin the process of negotiating long-term, multi-billion-dollar contracts with Eversource, National Grid and Unitil, the other distribution companies.
“Acadia Center is disappointed but not surprised that the process has resulted in the recommendation of the Northern Pass project,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “Acadia Center has long asserted that clean energy bids should include the region’s wind resources and not only hydropower imports and has further been concerned that having utilities review bids in which they have a financial interest creates a clear conflict of interest that undermines public confidence in the process.”
Acadia Center supported the 2016 energy law and the Commonwealth’s pursuing a large-scale procurement of clean energy, particularly arguing for environmental protections, a preference for a blend of new renewables and hydro, and guaranteed winter energy delivery to control price spikes, all of which the statute and RFP specified. One provision that Acadia Center argued against—but was still allowed in the 2016 energy law—was allowing the utilities to bid for the contract and serve on the selection committee.
“Under the terms of the RFP, the selected project was to provide the greatest benefit with limited risk to Massachusetts ratepayers. We don’t know the relative benefit-cost ratios because the price terms are confidential, but choosing only one project from an existing importer of electricity has major risks,” said Amy Boyd, Senior Attorney at Acadia Center. “Hydro-Quebec has previously curtailed power to New England in winter months, when demand in Quebec is highest. Similarly, reliance on a single project has its own risks. Northern Pass Transmission faces serious opposition due to its land use impacts and its projected in-service date has been delayed previously.”
After the contract is negotiated it will be reviewed by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), and the review must include a report from an independent evaluator and the participation of the Attorney General’s office. Under the statute, Eversource is also eligible for an additional incentive of up to 2.75% of the contract price for its share of the energy, as one of the contracting distribution companies. The public must be privy to any evaluation of the fairness of this and other aspects of the contract.
“Acadia Center believes that a full public report from the statutorily required independent evaluator and scrutiny by the Attorney General are important next steps. The public needs to have full confidence that this was a fair process and the benefits of other bidders were evaluated reasonably. The current ongoing procurements for offshore wind and future procurements are even more crucial to progress towards a clean energy future,” said Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney for Acadia Center. “If this contract is approved, the DPU should deny Eversource an additional incentive as a distribution company. Ratepayers don’t need to give Eversource additional money as a backstop for a contract where they are also on the other side.”
Peter Shattuck, state director of the environmental advocacy group the Acadia Center, said his group recognizes ELM’s frustrations but added, “We wouldn’t go quite that far.” But he did acknowledge the problems environmentalists face in trying to shape the policies for the wind farm developments.
“It’s a potential conflict, but there is no way around it,” he said of the companies’ prominent roles developing the RFPs. “But someone has to negotiate on behalf of Massachusetts. They have to go out and negotiate the best deals. But if they are developing projects also, that is when you need very strong oversight.”