Commonwealth Wind Moves Forward with Mass. Offshore Wind Deal

November 16, 2022

©Fokke Baarssen/AdobeStock
©Fokke Baarssen/AdobeStock

Commonwealth Wind said late Monday it will move forward with a submitted but not yet approved power purchase agreement with Massachusetts electric companies and its 1,232-megawatt offshore wind project.

Commonwealth made its announcement after the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) denied, in early November, Commonwealth's motion to suspend its agreement. That motion raised questions about the future of Commonwealth's offshore wind project.

Commonwealth is a unit of Avangrid Inc., which is majority owned by Spanish energy company Iberdrola SA.

"Avangrid believes there is a path forward for this project, and today made a filing ... so that we can continue to engage in ongoing discussion with all parties on these important issues," Sy Oytan, senior vice president for offshore project management for Avangrid, said in an email.

In October, Commonwealth sought a one-month suspension of the DPU proceedings and said the project "is no longer viable because of recent global commodity price increases" due to "the war in Ukraine, interest rates, supply chain constraints, and persistent inflation."

Mayflower Wind, which is developing another offshore wind project off Massachusetts, supported Commonwealth's request for a suspension, but dropped that support last week.

Massachusetts utilities with agreements to buy power from Commonwealth and Mayflower are units of Eversource Energy, National Grid PLC and Unitil Corp.

Mayflower is owned by units of Shell PLC and Ocean Winds. Ocean Winds is owned by units of Portuguese energy company EDP Energias de Portugal SA's majority-owned EDP Renováveis SA and France's ENGIE SA.

Analysts at energy consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners said, "negotiations between parties may continue despite their recommitment to the submitted (power purchase agreements)."

"These answers appear to reduce, but may not entirely resolve, the weeks-long conflict between the project developers and the DPU. ... The DPU could approve both (agreements) before year-end," Clearview said.

(Reuters - Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis)



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