Massachusetts doubles offshore wind commitment

Massachusetts awarded bids to two offshore wind projects, which are expected to generate a combined 1600 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The projects include a 1200 MW proposal from Vineyard Wind and a 400 MW proposal from Mayflower Wind. That brings the total offshore wind capacity purchased by the state to 3200 MW, or enough to power 1.6 million homes, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration said.

Vineyard Wind is co-owned by Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The company’s latest proposal would create thousands of jobs and generate enough energy to power 750,000 homes annually, an Avangrid spokesperson said.

Avangrid said the project would involve converting former coal power plants into clean energy centers, including the creation of the state’s first offshore wind manufacturing facility at Brayton Point in Somerset and the establishment of a second offshore wind port in Salem Harbor.

“This is more than just one project, it is part of an effort to build a clean energy infrastructure including the transformation of ports around our state as well as jobs and training that will support this clean energy industry for decades to come,” said President and CEO of Avangrid Renewables Offshore Bill White.

Mayflower Wind is a Boston-based joint venture between Shell Oil Company and offshore wind developer Ocean Winds. The company said its 400 MW plan comes with more than $40 million for economic development efforts along the state’s South Coast.

Both Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind already have contracts to provide wind energy to Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind recently broke ground on the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. The company’s 800 MW project calls for more than 60 turbines about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It’s expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

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Mayflower Wind has a roughly 800-megawatt project that it hopes to complete by 2025.

The combined energy output of the selected and already contracted offshore wind projects represents close to 25% of total Massachusetts annual electricity demand, Gov. Baker’s administration said.

The state is also poised to solicit an additional 2400 MW of energy from offshore wind, per climate change legislation signed by the Governor’s office in March. This would bring its total commitment to 5600 MW.

“Massachusetts has been a national leader in the offshore wind industry and today’s announcement is another major milestone with the selection of two projects that double the amount of offshore wind power secured by the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Baker.