Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island Push Back Offshore Wind Bidding Deadline

The US State of Massachusetts has extended the deadline for submitting bids in its ongoing offshore wind energy solicitation until 27 March. Connecticut and Rhode Island, Massachusetts’s partner states under an agreement signed last year that allows for the procurement of multi-state offshore wind projects, have also extended the bidding deadline in their respective solicitations.

The selected projects are now expected to be announced in August instead of June 2024.

Massachusetts’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) filed a letter with the state’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) on 18 January, notifying the DPU about the change in the procurement schedule.

According to the letter, the timeline of the solicitation, which opened in August 2023 with the original deadline for bids set to 31 January 2024, “contemplated forthcoming guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department relevant to offshore wind.”

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The request for proposals (RFP) included a provision to extend the bid submission deadline if guidance was issued after 1 December 2023 but before the bid submission deadline of 31 January 2024. The US Treasury has not yet published the final guidance but is expected to do so after 20 February.

The part of the guidance that the Massachusetts DOER is waiting for is related to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which could reduce project costs and subsequently the strike prices in the solicitation.

“The ITC is a key tax credit available to offshore wind projects, and the proposed regulations would update the types of energy property eligible for the energy credit, including additional types of energy property added by the IRA. The provisions could potentially reduce costs and resulting bid prices within offshore wind proposals,” DOER states in the letter to the DPU.

The comment period for the Treasury’s guidelines will close today (22 January), after which they will be put up for public hearing on 20 February, before being finalised.

According to DOER, Massachusetts was coordinating with other states to file comments on the guidelines.

Since October 2023, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in place that enables the three states to employ a coordinated selection of offshore wind projects through each of their respective offshore wind energy generation solicitations.

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Following Massachusetts opening its offshore wind solicitation in August 2023 and the multi-state agreement in early October last year, Rhode Island and Connecticut launched their offshore wind solicitations.

All three states had a bidding deadline set to 31 January 2024 and, according to Reuters, both Connecticut and Rhode Island have also pushed back their deadlines.


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