By - Jim Vess

Massachusetts energy agency calls for another 1,600 MW of offshore wind, doubling state’s target

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019

Massachusetts energy officials have proposed doubling the state’s offshore wind capacity by adding another 1,600 megawatts (MW) by 2030.

The state has already awarded one 800-MW offshore project and is set to select another 800-MW project in the fall.

After an economic analysis and a review with stakeholders, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued a report recommending adding another 1,600 MW by 2030.

“Based on current market projections an additional procurement for 1,600 MW of offshore wind has a likelihood of cost-effectiveness that justifies additional solicitations,” the analysis said.

DOER recommended the additional two solicitations for up to 800 MW of offshore wind capacity be made in 2022 and 2024, with another one in 2026 if needed to meet the target.

“The proposed schedule strikes a balance between capturing cost-effectiveness offered by later procurements with a steady pipeline of solicitations to spur and maintain economic development opportunities,” the report said.

The additional 1,600 MW would provide more than six million megawatt-hours of clean energy annually once they are online.

The projects will likely need additional transmission. The DOER said this project should be evaluated separately from the wind generation projects and needs to be completed before the state seeks bids for the wind projects.

While there are benefits of combining wind generation with energy storage, the DOER said that it “may be challenging” when it comes to offshore wind because of price caps set by the state for their offshore projects.

The report noted that six other states – New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia – are also pursuing offshore wind policies.

“As states are successfully completing offshore wind procurements, additional policies to expand their offshore wind goals are being considered in Maryland, Connecticut, and Virginia,” the report said. “In New Hampshire, steps have been taken to establish an intergovernmental offshore renewable energy task force to deliberate on the identification of wind energy areas off its coast.”

In April, Massachusetts approved its first offshore wind farm, an 800-MW project in two 400-MW steps, south of Martha’s Vineyard. The developer is Vineyard Wind, a joint-venture of Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

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