UPDATE: Mayflower Wind Asks for More Time After Rhode Island EFSB Sets Date for ‘Show Cause’ Hearing

This article was first published on 13 December with information on the date set for Mayflower Wind’s hearing before the Rhode Island EFSB. On 14 December, the article was updated following the receipt of information on Mayflower Wind’s request to reschedule the hearing, which the EFSB has granted.


Mayflower Wind, a joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds which is developing an up to 2.4 GW wind lease area offshore Massachusetts, has requested from the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reschedule the Show Cause Hearing which was set for 19 December.  

As reported initially, Mayflower Wind was scheduled to appear before the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) on 19 December for a hearing related to its application for an offshore wind transmission route filed in the state. 

The EFSB set the hearing date on 5 December and received Mayflower Wind’s request to postpone the hearing three days later. The Board granted the developer’s request on 12 December. 

According to the developer, Mayflower and its witness(es) need more time to prepare testimony and materials for the hearing. The new date, which has not yet been set, will be determined after consultation between Mayflower Wind and counsel for the EFSB.

While Mayflower Wind’s projects are in Massachusetts, the developer filed an application in Rhode Island this May seeking approval to build transmission facilities in the state, which are necessary to connect its Massachusetts offshore wind farm to the onshore regional transmission system.

The cable route in Rhode Island runs up the Sakonnet River, crosses Portsmouth and reenter Mt. Hope Bay, before making final landfall in Massachusetts.

As reported last month, the Rhode Island EFSB issued an order on 10 November, requesting Mayflower Wind to show cause why the proceedings for its application should not be suspended, following concerns arising on the project’s viability from both the case in Massachusetts and subsequent media coverage.

“The Board was in the process of finalizing its Preliminary Order and initiating its evaluation of the application when the Chairman of the Board learned that Mayflower Wind had recently requested the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (MA DPU) suspend its contract approval proceeding for the Mayflower Wind project (whose Rhode Island transmission facilities are currently pending before the Board in this docket), citing concerns over the economic and financial viability of the project”, the Rhode Island EFSB said.

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Namely, Commonwealth Wind (Avangrid), in its request to pause the approval proceedings for power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Massachusetts, stated that its project was no longer viable under the conditions set out in the PPAs signed earlier this year.

After concerns were raised in Rhode Island, Mayflower Wind, which joined Avangrid in its motion for a one-month suspension of the PPA review, emphasised that it did not state the same for its offshore wind project(s).

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According to the order in Rhode Island, the developer is required to show cause to continue the application proceedings in the state.

Otherwise, they would be suspended until the Massachusetts DPU issues final orders on the applicable pending PPAs and amendments, and until the developer testifies to prove its offshore wind project is economically and financially viable under the pricing and conditions of its PPAs approved in Massachusetts.

Mayflower Wind first sent a motion to extend the deadline for the hearing to show cause and then, on 23 November, filed documentation, including a letter in which the developer reiterates what it stated shortly before in a letter to the Massachusetts EFSB:

“Mayflower Wind did not state that its Clean Energy Resource or its necessary transmission connector projects were not viable, but raised reasonable concerns about the economics of the projects in light of extraordinary inflation and supply chain issues affecting the offshore wind industry, and expressed a desire for the parties to the PPAs to examine those concerns”.

Mayflower Wind also emphasised that it was moving forward with approval of its PPAs in both the 83C II and 83C III proceedings – the former being for the first, 804 MW Mayflower Wind project for which the Massachusetts DPU approved the PPAs in November 2020, and the latter being the second, 405 MW Mayflower Wind project which signed PPAs this April. 

Earlier this year, the developer announced that it had merged the two Mayflower Wind projects into one development now known as the SouthCoast Project. 

Located south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, the Mayflower Wind lease area has the potential to accommodate 2,400 MW of installed offshore wind capacity.

According to the Shell-Ocean Winds joint venture, its developments in the lease are will require two transmission connector projects. One is the SouthCoast Project, which interconnects at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts and partly runs through Rhode Island, and the other is the project that Mayflower Wind is currently proposing to interconnect in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

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