MA second offshore wind procurement solicited

The electric distribution companies of Massachusetts, in coordination with state Department of Energy Resources, have issued a second request for proposals for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects as required by state law.

Under Section 83C of Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, as amended by chapter 188 of the Acts of 2016, An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, Massachusetts electric distribution companies are required to jointly procure significant amounts of energy from offshore wind projects. A first round of solicitations under Section 83C in 2017 yielded contracts with offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind LLC for 800 megawatts of generation. The law was subsequently amended to require another 800 megawatts of offshore wind by June 30, 2027.

On May 23, 2019, distribution companies Fitchburg Gas & Electric Light Company d/b/a Unitil, Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company d/b/a National Grid, and NSTAR Electric Company d/b/a Eversource Energy issued their second request for proposals pursuant to Section 83C. The RFP seeks "reasonable proposals" to enter into cost-effective long-term contracts for offshore wind energy generation and associated renewable energy certificates or RECs. It expresses the utilities' intent to procure at least 400 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation, or up to 800 megawatts if the evaluation team determines that a larger-scaled proposal is both superior to other proposals and is likely to produce more economic net benefits to ratepayers.

As approved by the state Department of Public Utilities on May 23, 2019, the timeline for the second offshore wind procurement requires confidential proposals to be submitted by August 9, 2019, with projects selected for negotiation by November 8, contract execution by December 13, and submission of the contracts for DPU approval by January 10, 2020. The timeline also includes a bidders conference scheduled for June 4, and an opportunity for prospective bidders to submit written questions pertaining to the solicitation by June 11.

Beyond this second solicitation under Section 83C, further solicitations are expected: a subsequently enacted law requires the procurement of an additional 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by December 31, 2035.