The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted Anbaric Development Partners (ADP) the rights to solicit customers and sell transmission rights to a 2GW–2.4GW offshore wind transmission system in southern New England called the Massachusetts Ocean Grid. ADP will offer its offshore grid to developers that currently hold federal offshore wind leases as well as to those that are yet to obtain them.
The transmission system will comprise two 1,000MW to 1,200-MW HVDC transmission lines interconnecting with the ISO-NE’s transmission system in southeast Massachusetts and a 500MW AC connection between two HVDC offshore platforms The project took its first step towards realisation in 2011, when Anbaric Transmission filed an interconnection request with ISO New England.
ADP, established last year by Massachusetts-based Anbaric and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, expects the entire project to be operational by 2025, with the first HVDC line placed into service by December 2021.
“The Massachusetts Ocean Grid will provide a common offshore interconnection point for multiple wind developers, rather than relying on each wind developer to build its own individual generator lead,” ADP CEO Edward Krapels said. “The transmission backbone must be carefully designed to optimize the limited number of on-shore interconnection points, maximize competition among wind generators, and minimize the environmental impact of the transmission needed to bring offshore wind to market.”
In August 2016, Massachusetts passed the Energy Diversity Act that requires state regulated utilities to acquire 1,600MW of offshore wind by 30 June 2027. The first Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on 29 June 2017 with the Massachusetts utilities seeking bids for at least 400MW from offshore wind developers. The winning bid is expected to be announced this spring.
“This first RFP is an important step towards kick starting the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. To realize the potential of offshore wind, however, a backbone offshore grid must be carefully developed and remain independent of the individual wind farm developers,” Krapels said. “An independent transmission system like Ocean Grid will open the offshore wind market to more than just three bidders and is critical to the Commonwealth’s ability to get the competitive prices that consumers deserve.”