MA, CT, and RI to negotiate wind, solar deals

Unusual three-state bid process yields 7 projects

MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, AND RHODE ISLAND announced on Tuesday that they intend to negotiate seven power purchase contracts with wind and solar developers selected through an unusual three-state bidding process.

The so-called three-state RFP is an attempt by the three states to pool their buying power in the pursuit of clean energy needed to meet emission goals. The projects have a nameplate capacity of 461.2 megawatts, but they will produce less power than that because the facilities typically operate at less than 35 percent of capacity. Approximately 306.4 megawatts come from solar projects and 154.8 megawatts from wind.

All three states are expected to negotiate contracts with wind developers Antrim Wind and Cassadaga Wind and solar developers Ranger Solar and RES Americas (two projects).  Massachusetts and Rhode Island, meanwhile, will attempt to negotiate solar deals with Deepwater Wind and Ameresco.

The biggest contracts would be with Cassadaga Wind, with 126 megawatts of projects in several towns in New York, and Range Solar, with 220 megawatts of projects scattered across Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

A statement on the website of the New England Clean Energy RFP said the seven projects are now moving to the contracting stage but there are no guarantees that a final deal will be reached. The website said any signed contracts would be released once the projects are submitted for regulatory approval.

The Northern Pass project, which sought to bring hydroelectricity from Canada to New England via a transmission line through New Hampshire, released a statement saying it had been notified that its project was not selected as part of the three-state bid process. Northern Pass, a partnership of Eversource Energy and Hydro Quebec, said it is now focusing its efforts on plans by Massachusetts to sign long-term contracts for hydroelectricity.

Meet the Author

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.

“We are pleased with the key approvals the project continues to receive, and look forward to participating in the April solicitation for large-scale hydroelectricity,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource NH, in a statement.

 

  • Sewall House Yoga

    Wind power destroys the wildlife and natural beauty and wildlife of pristine parts of Maine (including the area near the new national monument)- stop the ridiculous transmission of neffective fiberglass toxic machines that destroy our land , wildlife and make humans ill- stop the nonsense!

  • NortheasternEE

    ISO-NE has been telling us for years that the forced integration of variable energy resources (VER) will increase rates and destabilize the grid. In addition to passing laws that manipulate the power market in favor of wind and solar developers, now the state will divert taxpayer money to them for electricity that grid operators find has no value.

  • Penny Gray

    “Massachusetts and Rhode Island, meanwhile, will attempt to negotiate solar deals with Deepwater Wind and Ameresco.” I didn’t realize Deep Water Wind was going solar. That’s an interesting concept, solar powered wind turbines. Just keep this wind turbine and transmission line junk out of Maine. We treasure our natural environment and see no point in trashing it for the benefit of southern New England. Five hundred foot tall blinking thrashing machines don’t belong on our mountains and ridge lines, along with miles of transmission lines clear cut through our forests. When you want to experience wildlife and wild places and feel the healing tranquility of the wilderness, come to Maine. But please don’t try to destroy it to fulfill your renewable energy mandates.

  • Patten_Pete

    The wind developers are destroying many beautiful parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with wind “farms”, which are nothing but a “steal the taxpayer and ratepayer money” scheme hatched by none other than Enron. The machines look good in press releases and TV commercials but their power production, faked CO2 avoidance data, in person visual blight, unbearable noise and bird & bat killing does not. They belong nowhere in New England.

  • thinkmorebelieveless

    Wow ! a lot of negatives about wind power from the commenters below. Notice though in the article how the state’s energy bigots left out hydro. Big hydro from Canada isn’t our only choice. Look around and find the abandoned local dams. How many of our favorite lakes and ponds were created by dams. All these could be producing “industrial scale” electricity, at much better than 35 % capacity, but they are regulated to death by State and Federal government regulatory cost. Hydro fits New England better than lifeless solar and wind. Tell your legislators to bring historically proven, multi benefit, inexpensive, local hydro back.

    • BRIAN CAMPBELL

      All NE sources of CHEAP NE Hydro are being Tapped. Let’s Dam the Allagash National Scenic River in Maine. In the 1980’s that was proposed? Let’s KILL, a pristine river to satisfy energy needs to Replace the NUKES!! NO NUKES RULE!!!

      • thinkmorebelieveless

        No, not all NE and US hydro is Tapped. The Boston Globe back in May stated that only 2% of Massachusetts’ dams produce hydro power. and in the US only 10 % of existing dams produce hydro power. Local New England dams tend to be smaller with significantly less environmental impact, and of course they already exist so lets put them back to work.
        BTY, in another of your comments you claim that dams “destroy Altantic salmon”. According to the state Fisheries, the multi-million dollar effort to restore salmon to the Connecticut river failed because of Climate Change………the fish went out into the ocean and never came back.

        • BRIAN CAMPBELL

          All NE sources of CHEAP NE Hydro are being Tapped. I said CHEAP!!! Again, you give no locations or project price. Nuclear AND Hydro ARE NOT Eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Hydro Kills Alweifes == 2016-10-20=Shaw told Maine Public that staff of the Downeast Salmon Federation discovered the dead alewives in the Union River below the Leonard Lake Hydro Dam in Ellsworth about a week ago. According to Shaw, many of those fish appeared to have been struck by the turbine blades of the dam. MA == 68 MW+ NH = 63 MW about 1/10 the power of killing VT YANKEE and PILGRiM Nukes. BUT you will need REC’s to do it. REC’s Should go to NUKES like in NY, which have to compete with TEMPORARILY, CHEAP FRACKED GAS.
          NORTHERN PASS 1000 MW is coming from Salmon Killing Quebec-Hydro Romine Valley 1500 MW, one of the last Wild free flowing rivers. When the Romaine complex is complete in 2020, Hydro-Québec’s reservoirs throughout the province will cover an area almost the size of the state of Vermont. That power goes to the aluminum smelters on the north shore, and to southern Québec, Ontario and the northeastern US, contributing to what is far and away the largest electricity grid in North America.

          • thinkmorebelieveless

            Well, 1 kW of micro hydro, the most expensive, may cost $10,000 installed ,not counting the unpredictable regulatory compliance costs. That 1 kW of hydro can power your house at over 6500 kWh per year ( over 8700 kWh is possible in theory). The equivalent solar would have to be 6 kW at $4000 per kW installed totaling $24,000. The gov’t energy bigots heavily subsidize the solar making it seem affordable. New England has thousands of historically proven 1, 10, 50, etc kW sites that are mostly abandoned.
            Nuclear is not renewable and should not receive REC’s. Hydro is renewable, as long as the sun keeps evaporating water. Nuclear is carbon free and should be given consideration. 21st century nuclear should be promoted, especially technologies that could use the spent fuel from older units.
            From what I read the dead alewives was the result of the failure of equipment to keep the fish from going through the turbines, this is not normal operation. I have been to many hydro sites and there are no dead fish that I could see.
            Unsustainable coastal cities need massive energy generators because of the demand density. That’s why the gov’t is looking at big offshore wind and big hydro. Other regions like western Mass. have water flowing downhill and could meet their electrical energy needs from their own local, distributed, Small and Micro hydro.
            BTW, Google “salmon cannon” to see how salmon are transported over large dams in the 21st century.

          • BRIAN CAMPBELL

            We need to be REMOVING Dams and restoring Ecosystems. The Veazie Dam had stood for a century in this spot just north of Bangor, MAINE, Three years after dams’ removal, the Penobscot River flourishes Alewives, shad and even whitewater paddlers have returned as the largest river restoration endeavor in U.S. history starts to yield results. Power from HYDRO kills fish and Ecosystems. New England needs to REMOVE Small Dams and restore ecosystems. As a caring Environmentalist, I Like James Hansen, believe Nuclear Power is the Best NON-Carbon Power Source that needs to be Built in New England. Bernie Sanders like you, celebrated VT Yankee Nuclear Power plant Closure in 12-2014===For @ 2015 EPA reports 5% INCREASE IN EMISSIONS = 2 MEGATONNES OF CO2== ISO New England, reports Methane burned to replace VT Yankee Generators. I AM FEEL’EN THE BERN!

          • thinkmorebelieveless

            So, tell me how “restoring ecosystems” contributes toward reducing the damaging effects of climate change ? Do alewives, shad, and whitewater paddlers miraculously absorb co2 or methane ? As a practicing environmentalist I see the biggest threat to us and the alewives, shad, and all living things to be climate change. Address the big issue.

            Small hydro dams can power neighborhoods and communities. Yes, hydro dams change ecosystems, not destroy them. These dam impoundments have decades, sometimes century old established ecosystems. Look at the Charles River during this recent drought. The aquatic life found sanctuary in the water of the dam impoundments when the river dried up.

            I am a proponent of nuclear because of its non-carbon energy. My biggest issue with nukes is how the industry / government cheaped out in handling the waste. They essentially warehouse the stuff or basically land fill it in repositories instead of rendering it non-lethal or finding uses for the residual energy in it. And by the way, the two local ( now former) nuclear plants near me in western Mass. were complimented by river sourced pumped storage hydro. Isn’t that ironic.

            Save your shad and alewives by addressing climate change. Develop the technology (if it doesn’t already exist) to provide fish passage, don’t tear our existing renewable energy hydro infrastructure down. Put it to work to combat climate change.

          • BRIAN CAMPBELL

            thinkmorebelieveless–Save your shad and alewives by addressing climate change.
            thinkmorebelieveless–is the one who not is NOT Seriously addressing climate change.
            Shutting DOWN New England’s, LARGEST, SAFE, NRC Lic Exp 2032, GREEN, NON-Carbon emitting, VT Yankee and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plants (1360 MW), is set to raise Emissions for NE RGGI Area by 10%== 4,000,000 tonnes of EXTRA Fracked Gas Emissions a YEAR.

          • thinkmorebelieveless

            Brian-I think you and I may be saying the same thing. I see the gov’t discrimination against hydro and the destruction of existing dams the wrong approach to addressing climate change. You see the abandonment of powerful non-carbon nuclear also to be the wrong approach. Both of these energy sources have issues as do any other energy source.
            A difference between hydro and nuclear is that hydro is being killed by gov’t regulation and nuclear is being killed by economics. At least there is a possibility that our Legislators will screw their heads back on, stop their energy bigotry, and promote hydro. How can nuclear ever compete in the long run with zero fuel cost renewables ?

  • BRIAN CAMPBELL

    Killing Pilgrim and VT Yankee == 1360 MW and replacing with 461.2 megawatts, @ 35 percent = ~~ 130.17 MW === 1/10 of GREEN POWER needed to replace the NUKES! Hydro-Quebec broke ground last year on its newest power project, a 1,500 megawatt facility on the Romaine River, an Atlantic salmon stream that flows into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Northern Pass == Clean and Green == Let’s KILL, a pristine river to satisfy energy needs to Replace the NUKES!! Let’s Raise Emissions by building 1000 MW Fracked Gas Burning Plant in Burrillville, RI to Replace the NUKES. EPA reports VT Yankee closure has RAISED NE Emissions 5 % == 2 MEGA TONNES of Emissions. New England NO NUKES, Love to destroy Atlantic salmon, pristine rivers and Forest and BONUS, raise emissions!!

  • Jim_L

    To the Citizens of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island: Your lust for green power is putting Maine residents and their wilderness land in severe jeopardy.

    I spent several weeks this summer going up to my camp, across an idyllic, rustic, wilderness lake from 27 wind turbines on Rollins Mountain. I have been going there for 68 years. (1949) We have no electricity other than our own solar 12 volt system which has been there for 25 years UNSUBSIDISED, as it is miles from a main road. We like it that way. It was a particularly hot week, when demand for the energy produced by those generators was truly needed. Do you know how many revolutions those blades made during that hot spell? Not very many! Most of the time they sat motionless, and only perked up when a few thunderstorms rolled through for a half an hour or so. The states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, where that power was to be sent were sitting even hotter than we were, depending on normally generated electricity. I rarely stay there overnight anymore as the flashing lights and strobes go from dusk to dawn impeding what used to be a Bortle 1 Dark Sky have spoiled the experience.

    The wind and grid reliability is so unstable that it is rarely available when really needed. The grid has to rely on gas powered plants that are able to ramp up quickly so there will be no blackouts or brownouts. We have no oil or coal fired plants in Maine. Maine happens to be the second CLEANEST state in the Union with well over 50% of its power from renewables. Wind and solar provide no power to us in Maine. That clean environment comes from a very small population, very dense CO2 sequestering forestation, and a lack of industrialization caused by the already high energy rates we are being charged by the addition of wind power transmission (to Southern New England) to our grid. That lack of industrialization has made jobs very hard to come by, and Maine is already a poor job producing state. The secret they won’t tell you is that big hydro, which we have plenty of our own, is excluded from being counted as renewable. We in Maine have enough power of our own to supply the entire state for the foreseeable next 40 years. These wind and solar projects are for YOU.

    The power companies are not the ones doing the investing in wind and solar. The investors are a few elite businessmen who are taking huge payments from the government in the form of subsidies, forming companies to produce “renewable” power, promising results that are not possible, pocketing the subsidies, bankrupting their companies and leaving the government to pick up the pieces. (Solyndra and recently the biggest of them all, SunEdison)http://www.greentechmedia.com/… Several of our hydro projects could be upgraded and cheap Canadian hydro is available for a lot less money, far more reliable power and transmission over a system that already exists. Maine is a terrible place for onshore wind and solar, despite the quote from John Baldacci who told us that “Maine is the Saudi Arabia of Wind”. Look at the national wind charts that show we are in the LOWEST 87th percentile of wind power in the US.

    http://www.nrel.gov/gis/images

    It is a program that was built on lies from day one, and a whole bunch of Governor Baldacci and Angus King’s cronies made millions from the government subsidies. These projects have come to Maine, lowered our property values around the projects, chased manufacturing jobs from the state, raised electricity rates to pay for the transmission of the minimal power they produce, dynamited mountaintops, stripped the land where they sit of CO2 sequestering trees, caused erosion of the land, harmed wildlife (especially birds, bats and raptors), spoiled dark skies, and impacted our wilderness experience for both residents and tourists. Who wants to hike the iconic Appalachian Trail and have to see and listen to industrial wind?

    The government needs to stay out of the energy business and let the businesses find the cheapest and cleanest ways to make power. The market can make the right selections.

    • BRIAN CAMPBELL

      I agree, as LAWYER-NON-Engineer, July 8, 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave a lunchtime speech at Energy Epicenter, the annual conference of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. “For all of these big utility scale power plants, whether it’s wind or solar, everybody is looking at gas as the supplementary fuel. The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants are GAS PLANTS.”
      I DISAGREE About HYDRO == Ecosystem Destruction. NUCLEAR POWER, IS NEW ENGLAND’S BEST POWER SOURCE!

      • Jim_L

        Brian, there are a lot of dams in Maine that already are in place and have no turbine on site. Almost every lake in the state has a dam on its outflow for lake level control. Most of these dams have been there for more than 100 years. For a lot less money than it takes for one wind turbine, a sluice or two could be put in and a turbine hooked up to nearby power lines. Each one would provide more continuous steady power than one wind turbine. Many of the dams with turbines already installed could have them updated with new ones with higher output. The connections are already there. And we could stop tearing out functional dams “for the fish” and put in fish ladders. Most of this could be done for a fraction the cost of wind and solar, be more efficient, more reliable, steadier, cleaner, more environmentally friendly and better for the wildlife.

        • BRIAN CAMPBELL

          Jim– If these small dams could be PROFITABLY brought on the grid, it would be done. If small hydro could get the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), @ the same Rate of Wind & Solar it may be done for some sites. It is only ~~120 MW if all these sites in NH & MA were developed and Maine has less about 30 MW. Closing Pilgrim Nuclear Plant 680 MW licensed until 2032 == 2 Megatonnes of emissions a year which will be replaced by Methane because NO RECs for Nukes.
          Perhaps you are thinking of the Dam on Allagash and St John 900 MW killed ~~1984. Killing Wild and Scenic federally protected Maine rivers seems fine with JIM.

          • Jim_L

            I’m talking about getting rid of all REC’s and having all generators stand on their own. I am also not talking about putting in any NEW dams to harness wild rivers. You obviously are not really reading what I wrote. Wind and solar can NOT stand on their own. If there are no REC’s wind and solar will DIE. That’s what I want.
            Hydro CAN stand alone and very cheaply. We are talking about cheap extremely clean energy with very few strings attached, doing ZERO harm to the environment and wildlife, making ZERO emissions of any kind, I don’t want the government picking winners and losers with REC’s AT ALL. I want them out of our energy decisions. I want the Market to make decisions on what we get, not Washington.

          • BRIAN CAMPBELL

            True, Wind and Solar are really GAS Plants. In a Deregulated PUBLIC Utility market they will go Bankrupt without RECs. However, it good for These Gas Plants to have REC’s as the building of more Gas Lines Trump infrastructure will HAVE to be built. Northern PASS will be built with beautiful 350′ towers on the white mountain ridgeline along with 400′ Windmills. Continued road building, lumbering and flooding of the Northern Boreal Forest in Canada for Hydro will continue. WE WILL GET RID of ALL New England Nuclear Plants, as GAS is cheaper Than Coal. New Emissions will INCREASE, and MID WEST COAL where it it CHEAP will kill the Clean Nuclear Plant = Clinton. Trump will remove Coal Scrubbers because New England Needs ACID RAIN and Mercury == Don’t eat the fish IF you catch any. Small Hydro is ONLY Profitable if it has RECs. Deregulation – No Fish ladders or Dam inspections for public safety might help JIM, but the potential power is Small less than 150 MW. Nuclear Deregulation would make NUKES CHEAPER than COAL or GAS. I am all for BANNing the NRC, then we would have a REAL Deregulated, PUBLIC Utilities, and Nuclear WILL OUT Compete all other Energy Sources!
            ORGANIZATIONS THAT OPPOSE THE NORTHERN PASS PROJECT
            350NH
            ABS Ventures
            AHA Engineers
            Alliance Against Northern Pass
            Ammonoosuc Chapter of Trout Unlimited
            Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust
            Ammonoosuc River Local Advisory Committee
            Appalachian Mountain Club
            Appalachian Trail Conservancy
            Apple Haven Farm
            Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions
            Baker River Watershed Association
            Bee Thankful Farm
            Berkshire Arts Technology Charter Public School
            Blackwater Trail Riders
            Bristol Select Board
            Bury the Northern Pass
            Campton Conservation Commission
            Chichester Conservation Commission
            Concord Equestrian Center
            Connecticut Rivershed Council
            Conservation Law Foundation
            Conservation New Hampshire
            Coos Community Benefits Alliance
            Delaware Riverkeeper Network
            Earthjustice
            Eastern Environmental Law Center
            Easton Conservation Commission
            Episcopal Diocese of NY Environment Committee
            Friends of Sandwich Range
            Global Awareness Local Action
            Governor’s Commission for Historical Resources
            Green Mountain Conservation Group
            Harris Center for Conservation Education
            HHP, Inc
            Holderness Conservation Commission
            Lake Sunapee Landscaping & Property Management
            Live Free or Fry
            Mountain River East Condominiums Association
            National Parks Conservation Association
            National Trust for Historic Preservation
            Nature Conservancy
            New Hampshire Audubon
            New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs
            New Hampshire Green Coalition
            New Hampshire Preservation Alliance
            New Jersey Highlands Coalition
            New Jersey Sierra Club
            New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
            No Northern Pass Coalition
            Orford Conservation Commission
            Responsible Energy Action LLC
            Passaic River Coalition
            Pennsylvania Sierra Club
            Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce
            Poore Family Foundation for North County Conservancy
            RESTORE the North Woods
            Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts
            Richard Monahon Architects
            Rock the Earth
            Sierra Club
            Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
            Sugar Hill Conservation Commission
            Sutton Board of Selectmen
            The Wilderness Society