3 firms competing in 2d offshore wind procurement
Vineyard Wind, its 1st project in limbo, is bidding again
THREE COMPANIES SUBMITTED proposals on Friday for the state’s second offshore wind procurement, an indication that a last-minute budgetary maneuver by Gov. Charlie Baker succeeded in spurring a competitive bid process.
Officials with Vineyard Wind, Bay State Wind, and Mayflower Wind Energy confirmed they submitted bids. Officials at a fourth company, Equinor Wind, could not be reached for comment, but industry sources said they didn’t think the company submitted a proposal.
State officials said bid information would be posted on a state website as soon as possible. All three companies submitted proposals of varying sizes. The state’s utilities are expected to review the proposals, pick a winner, and negotiate a contract by the end of the year.
The procurement process is being watched closely for a variety of reasons. First, the state’s first procurement, won by Vineyard Wind, is in federal regulatory limbo. But that didn’t appear to deter bidders, including Vineyard Wind.
Officials from the South Coast of Massachusetts have been concerned that the emphasis on price in the first procurement had come at the expense of other benefits, such as job-creating investments in onshore supply chains.
The three companies hinted at significant onshore investments in their proposals.
The Vineyard Wind press release quoted CEO Lars Pedersen as saying the company’s proposal would “offer significant job creation and port infrastructure investment opportunity for the region, while ensuring an attractive, fixed price for electric ratepayers.”
Bay State, a joint venture of Orsted Wind Power North America and Eversource Energy, said its project is committing “hundreds of millions to direct community investments.”
John Hartnett, president of Mayflower, a joint venture of Shell New Energies US and EDP Renewables, said in a brief telephone interview that his company’s bid includes infrastructure and manufacturing investments.
Vineyard Wind won the initial procurement, but the project was put on hold by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as the agency studies how it would interact with other projects up and down the East Coast. Fishing groups have raised concerns about the design of the initial Vineyard Wind project, with its northwest-southeast orientation and turbines spaced 9/10ths of a mile apart. Pedersen said that design was selected to benefit New Bedford scallopers.
Fishing groups, however, have pushed for an east-west orientation and at least 1 nautical mile between turbines, and raised concerns that if Vineyard Wind’s wind farm gets built with an orientation different from the others likely to go up in nearby waters that fishing boats could face significant navigational concerns.
A company spokeswoman said Bay State’s proposal will call for a wind farm with an east-west orientation and spacing of one nautical mile between turbines.