Massachusetts to Buy 3.6 GW of Offshore Wind in Auction

The wind capacity is a quarter of state's annual power demand


The Massachusetts administration has proposed to procure up to 3.6 GW of offshore wind power in its fourth auction.

The state’s Department of Energy Resources and electric distribution companies have jointly submitted a request to approve the draft request for proposals (RfP) to the Department of Public Utilities.

If approved, the draft RfP will invite submittals for offshore wind generation to procure up to 3,600 MW, representing a quarter of the state’s annual electricity demand. This represents a significant increase from the previous procurement, which sought approximately 1.6 GW of offshore wind.

Massachusetts already has 3.2 GW of offshore wind capacity under contract, including the Commonwealth Wind, Mayflower Wind, and Vineyard Wind 1 projects. This includes the Vineyard Wind 1, Commonwealth, and Mayflower wind projects.

The House of Representatives of Massachusetts passed a bill setting an offshore wind capacity target of 5.6 GW by 2027 last March.

The U.S. targets 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

Governor Maura Healey said the proposed offshore wind procurement would be the biggest in the region’s history.

The draft RfP proposes evaluating bids based on direct and indirect costs and benefits, environmental and socioeconomic impacts from siting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion plans.

Unlike in previous auctions, this one clarifies the weight given to robust economic development proposals that support minority- and women-owned businesses and support for low-income workers, workers of color, and workers from impacted environmental justice communities.

The proposed tender also allows for flexibility in proposals to account for challenges posed by inflation and other macroeconomic trends.

The draft RfP includes a timeline wherein bids are due by January 31, 2024.

Bids can range from 400 MW to 2.4 GW, and bidders must detail how they would use tax credits.

Last October, the U.S. government said it would hold a lease sale for areas off the West Coast for wind projects critical to achieving the administration’s offshore wind energy goals of 30 GW by 2030 and a floating offshore wind energy target of 15 GW by 2035.

According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the country needs to deploy 70–150 GW of wind energy and 40–90 GW of solar every year until 2030 to decarbonize America’s power sector by 2035.


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