US planning more offshore wind leases off MA coast

Two firms indicate they want in on Bay State action

IN ANOTHER SIGN the offshore wind market is heating up, the federal government indicated on Friday that it intends to lease more ocean tracts off the coast of Massachusetts after hearing interest from two major developers.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said PNE Wind USA and Statoil Wind submitted unsolicited lease requests for two ocean tracts off the coast of Massachusetts with a total size of 388,569 acres. PNE Wind is a Chicago-based subsidiary of a German firm, while Statoil is a Norwegian oil company trying to become a big player in renewable energy.

“BOEM has determined that competitive interest exists and plans to proceed with the competitive leasing process outlined in BOEM’s regulations,” the agency said in a note to stakeholders.

PNE Wind also submitted a lease request for a 40,920-acre ocean tract off the coast of New York. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it was considering issuing a public notice to see if other wind developers would be interested in bidding on the same tract.

The action off the Massachusetts coast comes as the state is preparing to seek bids this summer from the existing three leaseholders in the area for contracts that over time will total 1,600 megawatts. The three existing leaseholders are Bay State Wind, Deepwater Wind, and Vineyard Wind. Deepwater is already delivering power from its small, five-turbine offshore wind farm near Block Island and recently signed a contract to build a 90-megawatt, 15-turbine facility in its leased area off of Martha’sVineyard that will supply power to Long Island.

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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.

Statoil won a bidding war in December for a tract of ocean off of New York. The bidding went through 33 rounds and lasted two days, with Statoil eventually winning with a $42 million bid. The previous 11 commercial wind leases combined had raised $16 million.

Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said the announcement on Friday represented another promising sign for the US wind industry. “Today’s announcement by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to advance new offshore wind leases is a clear sign of momentum,” O’Mara said in a statement.

  • NortheasternEE

    “Deepwater is already delivering power from its small, five-turbine offshore wind farm near Block Island…”

    The power delivered from this project is 4 times the going rate.

    “The final PPA starts with an electricity price of $244 per MWh. During the next 20 years, National Grid will purchase the full output of the facility at a price that increases by 3.5% every year. In year 20 of the agreement, the price paid for Block Island Wind Farm power will be $479/MWh.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2016/08/17/is-offshore-wind-finally-ready-to-serve-us-power-needs/#70a7fdf623b2

    With Massachusetts now pushing renewable energy mandates to 100%, we are going to absorb all the offshore energy sold privately outside the competitive wholesale market. Look for our rates to skyrocket.

    Around the world governments have been forced, by the failure of renewable mandates to reach their goals, to scale back and reconsider the feasibility for wind power to perform. In Massachusetts, with already some of the highest rates, we are only half way to meeting the 20% by 2020 goal set by the 2008 Green Communities Act, Beacon Hill wants to up the anti to 100%. The crony capitalist wind industry is working with both state and federal government officials to create a non-competitive special market for their super expensive wind power at our expense.

    Tell Beacon Hill to stop. We cannot afford it!