‘We Had Hoped to See More Developers’ – Rhode Island Reviewing the Only Offshore Wind Proposal It Received

On 13 March, Ørsted and Eversource announced that they had submitted a proposal for an 884 MW offshore wind farm in Rhode Island’s offshore wind solicitation. At the end of last week, Rhode Island Energy confirmed this was the sole response to its request for proposals (RFP).

Illustration; Gode Wind 1 & 2 offshore wind farms; Photo source: Ørsted

“Although we had hoped to see more developers put forward additional proposals within this appeal, we also know there are a multitude of factors at play right now. As we move forward, our evaluation will consider future energy affordability and how this proposal meets the requirements of both the RFP and state law”, said Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy, the state’s primary utility company.

The company opened the solicitation in October 2022, looking to procure an additional 600 MW to 1,000 MW of offshore wind capacity, on top of the existing 30 MW that the state has through the first US offshore wind farm and the 400 MW planned to be added from the 704 MW Revolution Wind project being developed by Ørsted and Eversource offshore Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Developers were initially invited to submit bids until 1 February 2023. However, in November 2022, Rhode Island Energy made an update to the timeline for the 2022 procurement and moved the deadline to 13 March 2023.

The same day the RFP period closed, Ørsted and Eversource announced that they had proposed an 884 MW project, named Revolution Wind 2.

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This was the only bid Rhode Island Energy received in this solicitation and is now due to go through the review process.

Rhode Island Energy will share the proposal with the Office of Energy Resources (OER) and Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, before any potential long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs), which would require contract durations between 15 and 20 years, are signed.

“An evaluation of the proposals included in the bid is expected to take roughly three months, at which time the Company will determine whether to move forward with contract negotiations. Any PPAs agreed to by Rhode Island Energy will be subject to review and approval by the Public Utilities Commission”, Rhode Island Energy stated on 17 March.

According to the RFP timeline published in November 2022, Rhode Island Energy expects to negotiate and execute contracts by 13 September and submit them for Public Utilities Commission’s approval by 13 November this year.

“We’re committed to helping Rhode Island meet its leading clean energy goals and will carefully review Orsted and Eversource’s joint proposal”, Dave Bonenberger said. “Our objective is to advance the clean energy transition while keeping energy affordable and reliable for our customers. This is the lens through which we will evaluate the proposal”.

The Revolution Wind partners state that their new, 884 MW wind farm off Rhode Island represents more than USD 2 billion in direct economic benefits to the state.

This includes USD 35 million to establish a Regional Offshore Wind Logistics and Operations Hub at Quonset Point, which is envisioned by Quonset Development Corporation, and the creation of new jobs at ProvPort, where the joint venture partners started building a manufacturing facility for offshore wind foundations in December 2021.


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