BOSTON (State House News Service) – The Healey administration wants to solicit up to 3,600 megawatts of additional offshore wind power in the next round of bidding, eyeing a major step toward transforming the state’s electrical grid and changes to the bidding process.
Kicking off the next round of regulatory review and debate, Gov. Maura Healey’s energy and environment secretariat on Tuesday filed a 165-page draft request for proposals for more offshore wind energy generation that the governor dubbed “the biggest in our region’s history.”
The maximum 3,600 megawatts of capacity that could be approved under the proposal represents more than 25 percent of the annual electricity demand in Massachusetts, according to Healey’s office. It would be more than twice as large as the 1,600 megawatts selected in the last procurement round in 2021, and it could bring Massachusetts up to the full 5,600 MW of offshore wind power authorized in a 2016 clean energy law.
“This draft RFP is a signal to the rest of the world that Massachusetts is all-in on offshore wind and ready to be the industry’s hub,” Healey said in a statement. “Our proposal is also a commitment to Massachusetts ratepayers to chase after all clean energy for our homes and businesses.”
If approved, the next procurement — the fourth under a 2016 clean energy law and the first with Healey at the helm — would give new weight to projects that aim to support minority- and women-owned businesses, low-income workers and workers of color. Healey’s office said the RFP would allow for evaluation of the “experience and track record of the bidder” to make certain that winning projects “are viable and have a high likelihood of achieving commercial operation.”
Avangrid, the developer of the 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project chosen in 2021, is seeking to terminate its contracts for the installation and rebid at a higher price because company officials believe it “cannot be financed and built” under the originally agreed-upon terms. State officials are working with a relatively small pool of bidders in the developing industry.