The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved long-term contracts for 800MW of offshore wind between Vineyard Wind and the Commonwealth’s electric distribution companies.
The DPU green signal is a crucial approval needed for the offshore wind farm developer to start construction by the end of the year.
“The approval of these contracts is an important step toward the completion of the largest offshore wind project in the country, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide Massachusetts residents and businesses with cost-effective clean energy and promote economic development,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Vineyard Wind’s bid was selected for contract negotiation in May 2018 based on criteria established under a Request for Proposals (RFP) previously subject to public comment, and submitted to the DPU for review and approval on July 31, 2018.
Criteria used in the evaluation of the bids included an economic evaluation of the benefits for ratepayers, the project’s ability to foster employment and economic development in the Commonwealth, and the project’s environmental impacts and the extent to which a project demonstrates that it avoids or mitigates impacts to natural resources and tourism. As a result of a stringent review, Vineyard Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers by delivering approximately 800 MW of offshore wind capacity per year while providing substantial ratepayer benefits. The DPU’s Order approved the selection and found that these contracts are cost-effective as well as in the public interest.
“This approval by the Department of Public Utilities ensures that this project offering competitively priced and locally produced offshore wind energy to the Commonwealth can move forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The administration looks forward to continuing to grow its emerging offshore wind industry while leading the nation in in combating climate change.”
“Massachusetts is committed to being a leader in the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Department of Public Utilities Chairman Matt Nelson. “These contracts will provide fuel diversification in the Commonwealth and enhance reliability of the regional system, continuing the Commonwealth’s practice of leading the nation in innovation and renewable energy.”
On March 27, 2019, Massachusetts reinforced its commitment to offshore wind and clean energy when the Commonwealth’s Electric Distribution Companies submitted their second RFP to the DPU for up to 800MW of additional offshore wind.