DPU Okays Vineyard Wind Energy Contracts

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 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 Charlie Baker, the Governor of Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind has also committed in these contracts to contribute USD 15 million to a fund that will invest in projects designed to promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities and support the Commonwealth’s goal to further the development of energy storage systems across the state.

Vineyard Wind’s bid was selected for contract negotiation in May 2018 based on criteria established under a Request for Proposals (RFP), and submitted to the DPU for review and approval on 31 July 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 review, Vineyard Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers by delivering approximately 800MW of offshore wind capacity per year while providing substantial ratepayer benefits, DPU said.  The DPU’s Order approved the selection and found that these contracts are cost-effective as well as in the public interest.

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will be built some 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard on a lease area covering some 160,000 acres. The wind farm, which will feature MHI Vestas 9.5MW turbines, is expected to enter the construction phase in 2019 and be operational by 2021.

Back in March, the Commonwealth’s electric distribution companies submitted their second RFP to the DPU for up to 800MW of additional offshore wind.