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MA, CT, and RI to negotiate wind, solar deals; Unusual three-state bid process yields 7 projects

Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island announced on Tuesday that they intend to negotiate seven power purchase contracts with wind and solar developers selected through an unusual three-state bidding process.

The so-called three-state RFP is an attempt by the three states to pool their buying power in the pursuit of clean energy needed to meet emission goals. The projects have a nameplate capacity of 461.2 megawatts, but they will produce less power than that because the facilities typically operate at less than 35 percent of capacity. Approximately 306.4 megawatts come from solar projects and 154.8 megawatts from wind.

All three states are expected to negotiate contracts with wind developers Antrim Wind and Cassadaga Wind and solar developers Ranger Solar and RES Americas (two projects). Massachusetts and Rhode Island, meanwhile, will attempt to negotiate solar deals with Deepwater Wind and Ameresco.

The biggest contracts would be with Cassadaga Wind, with 126 megawatts of projects in several towns in New York, and Range Solar, with 220 megawatts of projects scattered across Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

A statement on the website of the New England Clean Energy RFP said the seven projects are now moving to the contracting stage but there are no guarantees that a final deal will be reached. The website said any signed contracts would be released once the projects are submitted for regulatory approval.

The Northern Pass project, which sought to bring hydroelectricity from Canada to New England via a transmission line through New Hampshire, released a statement saying it had been notified that its project was not selected as part of the three-state bid process. Northern Pass, a partnership of Eversource Energy and Hydro Quebec, said it is now focusing its efforts on plans by Massachusetts to sign long-term contracts for hydroelectricity.

“We are pleased with the key approvals the project continues to receive, and look forward to participating in the April solicitation for large-scale hydroelectricity,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource NH, in a statement.