- Massachusetts could be forced to delay its offshore wind energy solicitation decision, according to local media, because the team making the decision has been tasked with double duty.
- In December of last year, a trio of wind developers submitted proposals in response to the state's solicitation for 400 MW of offshore wind capacity: Deepwater Wind, Bay State Wind and Vineyard Wind. A decision was expected by April 23.
- But according to State House News Service, the selection of a winner could be delayed because the same team has also been working on the state's clean energy solicitation for 9,450,000 MWh of renewable energy annually, and meetings were delayed this winter. The agency will publish a request for feedback in the Federal Register on Friday.
Massachusetts officials say they may have to delay selection of an offshore wind project, laying the blame on manpower constraints.
The possible delay was first reported by Commonwealth Magazine, which spoke with Matthew Beaton, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs. "There’s only so much capacity ... In all likelihood, there could be a delay," he told the news outlet.
The team which will make the offshore wind decision was also involved in the state's separate clean energy procurement involving the Northern Pass transmission project, which was delayed when Massachusetts' initial selection had to be replaced. After initially tapping Eversource Energy's Northern Pass transmission line, the state was forced to move on when the project faced permitting problems in New Hampshire.
Massachusetts is now negotiating with Central Maine Power (CMP) to develop the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project.
So while April 23 had been expected to be decision-day for offshore wind proposals, it now appears Deepwater Wind, Bay State Wind and Vineyard Wind will have to sweat it out a bit longer. In 2017, Massachusetts required the state’s electric distribution companies to procure 1,600 MW of offshore wind energy within the next decade. The solicitation being considered now represents just a quarter of thar total.
The offshore wind industry is nascent in the United States, but projects are beginning to pick up steam on the East Coast. In response, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has launched an assessment of potential future lease locations in the Atlantic.