Connecticut Evaluates Bids for First Offshore Wind Farm
Three offshore wind developers have submitted bids to Connecticut as the state becomes the latest to look to that renewable power source in the energy-constrained New England corridor. The state wants to procure up to 825,000 MWh of offshore wind, fuel cells and anaerobic digestion annually through an RFP that closed April 2, with winning bidders to be announced in June.
Three bidders responded to the solicitation. Ørsted and Eversource announced April 2 that Constitution Wind, their proposed 200-MW project, would be located 65 miles off the coast of New London, Conn., in the same federal lease area where the firms proposed building an 800-MW offshore wind farm for Massachusetts.
Ørsted would develop and construct the offshore generation and transmission assets while Eversource would develop and construct the onshore transmission system.
On April 3, Deepwater Wind submitted a proposal to supply 200 MW from its Revolution Wind project. The project, to be located in federal waters about halfway between Montauk, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is designed to serve as a regional energy center, the developer says. Deepwater Wind also has a pending proposal to supply power to Massachusetts from Revolution Wind, which could be developed as a stand-alone or expansion project.
If approved, construction would begin in 2022, with operation in 2023. Vineyard Wind, the third developer seeking to supply Connecticut, is a 50-50 partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure and Avangrid Renewables, owned by Spain’s Iberdrola. Its wind farm would be 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in federal waters.
Despite the momentum, Connecticut cautions on its project website that “offshore wind proposals have been met with great opposition,” and that lower wind speeds in Long Island Sound limit the state’s potential for offshore wind.
But the state joins several others making forays into offshore wind. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said recently that offshore wind had “enormous potential,” and announced on April 6 a proposed sale of two additional ocean areas off the coast of Massachusetts, totaling about 390,000 acres, for commercial wind energy leasing.
Meanwhile, the state is set to announce the winners of its offshore wind procurement on April 23. A March 24 report by Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center says the state has the most offshore wind potential in the U.S.
On April 12, New Jersey approved a bill (S-1217) that is aimed at boosting prospects for a pilot 24-MW offshore-wind project three miles from Atlantic City. Former Gov. Chris Christie (R) had blocked the project from being developed by Fishermen’s Energy. The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who took office in January, for consideration.