On 29 June, five Massachusetts electric distribution companies, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 400MW, and up to 800MW, of offshore wind generation and associated transmission projects to enter into long-term contracts of 15 – 20 years.
Fitchburg Gas & Electric Light Company (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric Company (National Grid), Nantucket Electric Company (National Grid) NSTAR Electric Company (Eversource Energy), and Western Massachusetts Electric Company (Eversource Energy) are seeking to procure a total of 400MW of offshore wind generation, with bidders allowed to offer proposals for up to approximately 800MW.
The utilities will consider procuring up to approximately 800MW of offshore wind capacity if the evaluation team determines that a larger-scaled proposal is both superior to other proposals submitted in response to the RFP and is likely to produce significantly more economic net benefits to ratepayers. All proposals must provide for a scheduled commercial operation date before 1 January 2027.
Offshore wind developers have until 26 July to submit a Notice of Intent to Bid, and until 20 December 2017 to prepare and submit their proposals.
In April 2018, the companies will select projects, which will then go through negotiation and the long-term contracts are expected to be submitted for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approval 31 July 2018.
This initial solicitation is part of a procurement schedule under which the distribution companies will enter into cost-effective contracts for offshore wind energy equal to approximately 1,600MW of aggregate nameplate capacity. On 1 August 2016, the Massachusetts State Legislature voted on and passed an energy bill which includes a requirement that utilities enter into long-term contract for 1,600MW of offshore wind power not later than 30 June 2027.