Largest offshore wind supply market attracted only 2 bids
Colin A. Young
The two companies already chosen to develop offshore wind projects for Massachusetts were the only two to submit proposals for the state’s third offshore wind solicitation, each offering up to 1,200 megawatts of power generation and various sweeteners linked to economic development.
The state’s third competitive solicitation drew bids from Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind, a smaller bid pool than House Speaker Ron Mariano and others had hoped for. The two developers have submitted bids with a maximum capacity of 1,200 MW, which is 25% less than the upper limit of 1,600 MW requested by the state, but still 50% more than either. projects currently under development.
While key details such as the price of cleaner energy and the number of turbines planned remain under wraps until later stages of the selection process, the two developers vying for the job described on Thursday what they believe to be. the benefits of their offers.
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If one of its multiple proposals is chosen, Mayflower Wind said it would create an operations and maintenance port in Fall River and spend up to $ 81 million on supply chain support, the training and education, port investments and diversity and inclusion programs in the South. Rating.
“The offers we submitted were formulated after months of conversations with local stakeholders who shared with us their vision for the future of the offshore wind industry. We have taken these conversations very seriously and have developed packages that incorporate their feedback and support each of their diverse groups, ”said Michael Brown, CEO of Mayflower Wind.
A new Mayflower Wind operations and maintenance base at the Borden & Remington complex in Fall River would be in addition to the economic development spending proposed in each offering, the company said.
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Ways and Means Senate Chairman Michael Rodrigues of Westport said Mayflower’s proposal to base operations and maintenance outside of Fall River “is representative of the tangible economic benefits our region is seeking from the industry. growing offshore wind turbine of our Commonwealth “.
Vineyard Wind said last week that it had submitted two proposals dubbed “Commonwealth Wind”, proposing 800 MW and 1,200 MW projects that the developer said would create thousands of jobs and include “substantial commitments to environmental justice communities “.
“We have used all of our experience with our existing portfolio to put together an incredibly strong proposal which, if selected, will ensure that Massachusetts will benefit significantly from its pioneering status in large-scale offshore wind in the United States. United, ”said Lars, CEO of Vineyard Wind. said Pedersen. “We have deliberately named our proposals ‘Commonwealth Wind’ to emphasize the broad benefit of affordable energy for the Commonwealth as a whole as well as the significant economic benefits that will be provided to many parts of Massachusetts.”
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In the public version of its heavily drafted tender documents, Vineyard Wind says its project “presents a generational opportunity for Massachusetts to realize the economic promise of offshore wind and position itself as a mainstay. of the country’s new industry ”although most of the page before this sentence is blacked out, as is the page and a half following it.
The evaluation team is expected to select a project for contract negotiations by December 17, a contract is expected to be negotiated by March 28, 2022, and a final contract is to be submitted to the Department of Public Services for approval. ‘by April 27, 2022.
Vineyard Wind’s tender documents, as available to the public, do not appear to mention the fact that its second Massachusetts project, if chosen, would have different business leaders than those of the Vineyard Wind I project which should go live in 2023.
Vineyard Wind is a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). On Tuesday, Avangrid and CIP announced “a restructuring of their Vineyard Wind joint venture” which will see Avangrid Renewables pay $ 167.5 million and take full ownership of the rental area that would host the Commonwealth Wind project and the Park City Wind project in development course for Connecticut. .
CIP would take full ownership of a separate rental area capable of generating over 2,500 MW of electricity and begin developing it for its own projects.
Vineyard Wind I will continue to be developed as a 50-50 joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and CIP, but the restructuring will give Avangrid Renewables an option “to take operational control” of the wind farm once it is operational, said companies. .
The restructuring, which is subject to approval by regulators from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Connecticut distribution companies, is expected to be completed in about six months.
For some, the results of the third offshore wind solicitation have been disappointing. The Speaker of the House said this week that he had tasked Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Roy with producing legislation to “help us restore our place in this competitive market. “.
“We had a huge advantage and it is starting to slip,” Mariano said during a boat trip to the Block Island wind farm on Tuesday, citing Massachusetts’ requirement that the price of each project be lower than the price of the project that preceded it. as an aspect that could have prevented others from bidding.
Removing the price cap, as requested by Mariano, may not be enough on its own to generate much more interest in Massachusetts offshore wind demands. In the midst of the state’s second solicitation, in 2019, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill temporarily suspending the price cap and only three bids were presented on that round – from Mayflower Wind, Vineyard Wind and Bay. State Wind.
And the universe of companies that hold leases for offshore wind sites off New England is also somewhat limited – Vineyard Wind, Mayflower Wind, Equinor, which already has significant commitments to New York, and ˜rsted. / Eversource, which was originally the Bay State Wind proposal.
The ˜rsted and Eversource joint venture said this week that it has decided to let the latest Massachusetts solicitation pass. “[a]near after carefully reviewing the Request for Proposal issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and reviewing our current activity in the offshore wind industry in the United States.