Avangrid Requests a Few More Days to Respond to Massachusetts DPU

This article was first published on 9 November and was updated on 10 November after the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities granted Commonwealth Wind the extension of response period.

Commonwealth Wind / Avangrid

On 9 November, Avangrid Renewables, the US-based company owned by Spain’s Iberdrola and the developer behind the 1.2 GW Commonwealth Wind offshore wind project, filed a motion with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to extend the response period to the DPU’s order issued on 4 November by a few more days. The DPU has now granted the request.

  • The developer cites ramifications of its response due to project size and complexity
  • Mayflower Wind (Shell-Ocean Winds joint venture) withdrew its motion to suspend PPA review
Avangrid / Commonwealth Wind

The developer has asked for a prolongation of the response period from three to five business days so that its response would be due on Monday, 14 November.

On 4 November, the Massachusetts DPU issued an order in response to a motion filed by Commonwealth Wind and later joined by Mayflower Wind, requesting a one-month suspension of the review of their power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the state’s three electric distribution companies (EDCs) so that the PPAs could be renegotiated.

The DPU denied the motion and noted that the EDCs had indicated that they did not plan to renegotiate the power offtake agreements.

The state regulator asked the developers to either continue under the conditions set out in the current PPAs, or to submit a request to dismiss the ongoing PPA review and approval proceedings at the DPU, and gave them until 9 November to notify both the DPU and the EDCs of their decision.

Mayflower Wind, a joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds, submitted a letter to the DPU on 7 November, withdrawing its motion for a one-month suspension of the PPA review.

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On 8 November, Commonwealth Wind filed its request to push back the deadline to 14 November, saying that three business days are not enough time “to provide the reasoned and thoughtful response”.

According to Avangrid, the ramifications of its evaluation of and response to the DPU order will be significant due to the size and the complexity of its the 1,232 MW Commonwealth Wind offshore wind project.

“Given the potential financial and environmental implications of the Department’s ultimate determination, as well as the diverse interests of the project’s numerous stakeholders, Commonwealth Wind respectfully maintains that three business days is an insufficient period in which to provide the reasoned and thoughtful response that the Department’s directive warrants”, the developer states.

The DPU granted the request to move the deadline to 14 November the following day.

The 1,232 MW Commonwealth Wind was chosen in Massachusetts’s offshore wind procurement last year and signed PPAs with Eversource Energy, National Grid, and Unitil for USD 72/MWh this April. 

In May, the three EDCs submitted petitions for the Massachusetts DPU to start with the PPA review and approval proceedings.

Avangrid submitted its motion for a one-month suspension on 20 October, saying the project was no longer viable under the current PPAs and would thus not be able to move forward. Mayflower Wind joined in on 27 October.

According to Avangrid, the viability of the 1.2 GW offshore wind farm has been affected by sharp and sudden increases in interest rates, persistent inflation, and prolonged supply chain constraints, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

With a capacity of over 1.2 GW, Commonwealth Wind is said to be able to power 750,000 homes in Massachusetts and create over 11,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

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