May 24, 2018 Read More →

Massachusetts, Rhode Island Bet Big on Offshore Wind

CommonWealth:

The Baker administration placed a bold bet on the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind Wednesday, selecting one company to build an 800-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and working with Rhode Island to procure another 400 megawatts at another location in the same area.

State officials said they hope the two procurements will kickstart a regional industry with the potential to generate thousands of jobs across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and introduce a huge chunk of renewable, emission-free electricity into the region’s power grid. The 800-megawatt procurement, at full capacity, would represent nearly 6 percent of the state’s electricity load, state officials said.

Judith Judson, the commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, which oversaw a procurement process that was carried out by the state’s utilities, said the state should realize long-term benefits by hosting the largest offshore wind project in the United States.

Vineyard Wind, a partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of a utility holding company, won the 800-megawatt contract from Massachusetts. Deepwater Wind, which built the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm off of Block Island (30 megawatts), won the 400-megawatt procurement from Rhode Island.

Lars Pedersen, the CEO of Vineyard Wind, said his project will use New Bedford as its main staging area for construction, which is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2021. The wind farm’s transmission line will connect to Barnstable on Cape Cod and, once the turbines are turning, the operations and maintenance for the project will be handled out of Martha’s Vineyard. Pedersen estimated the 800 megawatt project will yield 2,000 job years of employment, the equivalent of 2,000 people working one year. But he said the total value of the project will be realized over time as the industry expands. “We think that these projects are the beginning of an industry,” he said.

More: Baker Makes Bold Bet on Offshore Wind

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