Mayflower Wind strikes Brayton Point deal
Power from future wind farms would come ashore in Somerset
MAYFLOWER WIND, which is planning to bring ashore on Cape Cod the electricity generated by its first wind farm, said on Thursday that it intends to shift the landing point for the power produced by its future wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts to Brayton Point in Somerset.
The announcement is good news for Somerset, which has been waiting for years for offshore wind to fill the void left behind by the dismantling of an enormous coal-fired power plant at Brayton Point. But it could be years more before the dream of offshore wind at Brayton Point can actually be realized. Mayflower Wind would need to win a second state procurement and go through a lengthy permitting process before construction of a power line to Brayton Point could begin.
In the meantime, Somerset is struggling. Tax revenues are down and residents are divided over Brayton Point. With offshore wind unable to get moving under the Trump administration, the brownfield developer that tore down the coal-fired power plant had no revenue coming in. The firm angered residents of Somerset by selling space at Brayton Point to noisy and dirty scrap metal and road salt operations. The developer and town are now fighting in court and a strong grassroots operation has emerged calling for an end to the scrap metal and road salt businesses.
Kathy Souza, a leader of the grassroots effort and a candidate for Somerset’s select board, said she was encouraged by the Mayflower Wind announcement. She said the president of the company called Thursday to give her the news and said a community relations director would be in touch with her and other members of the community.
“We will do everything we can to be a good neighbor and partner,” said Seth Kaplan, director of government and regulatory affairs at Mayflower.
Two companies have secured offshore wind contracts from Massachusetts so far. Vineyard Wind recently won near-final approval for its project from the Biden administration, the first industrial-scale offshore wind farm to do so. Mayflower Wind is awaiting its environmental permits. Both of those wind farms will bring their power ashore on Cape Cod. The two projects will max out the Cape’s electricity infrastructure, which is why Mayflower secured its deal with Brayton Point.
Mayflower, which plans to compete for the state’s next offshore wind procurement, snapped up the Brayton Point connection by acquiring transmission rights developed by a company called Anbaric Development. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.Anbaric’s plan calls for DC, or direct current, power to be delivered from the wind farm to Brayton Point and be converted there to AC, or alternating current, power before being fed into the regional power grid at the existing electric substation. To convert the DC power to AC power, a converter station would need to be built at Brayton Point.
None of these plans are set in stone because Mayflower Wind would first have to win a second offshore wind procurement from Massachusetts. But Anbaric officials believe events are trending in the right direction. “The agreement is a critical first step in realizing Anbaric’s vision of repowering the former coal plant site as a clean energy hub,” said Clarke Bruno, Anbaric’s CEO, in a statement.