Offshore wind farm bids against hydro, onshore wind firms

Offshore wind farm bids against hydro, onshore wind firms

Deepwater Wind also proposes 40 megawatt Tesla storage

DEEPWATER WIND, one of a handful of companies expected to bid on an upcoming offshore wind power contract, revealed on Monday that it has also submitted three bids on a separate, massive clean energy contract.

The bids are a shocker because no one expected an offshore wind company to compete for a contract against hydro-electric, onshore wind, and solar suppliers, who are generally expected to offer much lower prices.

Deepwater Wind said its Revolution Wind project would pair a 144 megawatt wind farm 12 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard with a 40-megawatt-hour battery storage system engineered by Tesla. The company said it also submitted bids in connection with 288 megawatt and 96 megawatt wind farms. At any of the sizes, the project would provide only a small portion of the power being sought by the state’s clean energy solicitation.

Like other bidders on the clean energy contract, Deepwater Wind officials did not disclose how they would price their electricity.

“Revolution Wind is flexible and scalable. That’s a serious advantage of offshore wind – we can build to the exact size utilities need,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “We can build a larger project if other New England states want to participate now or we can start smaller to fit into the region’s near-term energy gaps. And our pricing at any size will be very competitive with the alternatives.” 

The Massachusetts clean energy solicitation seeks 9.45 terawatt hours of electricity a year. Hydro-Quebec filed hydro-electricity proposals with three different transmission companies, National Grid submitted a proposal relying on onshore wind and solar power from New York and Quebec, and Emera Inc. is pushing a project offering wind power from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick backed up by hydroelectricity from Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

State officials said public versions of the proposals will be posted on a state website this week, but the timing was unclear.

Deepwater Wind said in its press release that it will base its construction and operations in New Bedford and final turbine assembly and staging operations at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. The company said the project would create hundreds of local jobs in the Commonwealth.

The company appears to be making two statements with its bid – that offshore wind can compete in terms of price against hydro-electricity and onshore wind and that an offshore wind project of less than 400 megawatts is economical. In the state’s offshore wind procurement, officials are seeking bids for projects of 400 megawatts but also allows bids for as little as 200 megawatts and as much as 800 megawatts. Deepwater has favored smaller projects.

Deepwater’s press release said a 144 megawatt wind farm could be built in a single construction season. If the company’s bid is approved, the firm said it would begin construction in 2022 and finish in 2023.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Revolution Wind would be located in the company’s federal lease site off the coast of Massachusetts. The wind farm wouild be adjacent to Deepwater Wind’s South Fork Wind Farm, a 90 megawatt project serving Long Island. Fully-built, the lease site has the potential to host 2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.

Deepwater Wind said it intends to file a separate offshore wind proposal as part of the state’s office wind power solicitation. Responses to that solicitation are due in December 2018.