PROVIDENCE, R.I. – In response to a just-released request for proposals from Massachusetts utilities for offshore wind power, Deepwater Wind plans to submit a project that, if selected, would constitute the second phase of development in an area off Rhode Island that the Providence company is leasing from the federal government.
The project, which Deepwater has yet to release any details about, would follow construction of a 90-megawatt wind farm, targeted for completion in 2022, that would supply power to Long Island under a long-term contract that was awarded in January.
Both wind farms would be built in a 256-square-mile area of federal waters that lie east of Block Island and southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. Deepwater won an auction in 2013 to lease the waters, which could support the construction of as much as 1,000 megawatts of capacity.
Two other offshore wind developers have won leases in nearby waters and also plan on submitting bids in response to the Massachusetts RFP that was made public on Thursday. They are DONG Energy, of Denmark, and Vineyard Wind, a company owned by Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
The RFP represents the first solicitation for projects as part of a plan approved by Massachusetts lawmakers last year to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power over the next decade.
It has been hailed by supporters of renewable energy as a way of jump-starting the nascent offshore wind industry in the United States.
“The national significance of this moment cannot be overstated,” Catherine Bowes, National Wildlife Federation senior manager, said in a statement. “Our most abundant, home-grown, clean energy resource will soon be delivering cleaner air, cleaner water, and quality jobs to the Commonwealth, all while helping protect communities and wildlife from climate change.”
Under the RFP, three Massachusetts utilities – Eversource, National Grid and Unitil – are seeking proposals of 400 megawatts of energy, but they will also consider bids ranging from 200 megawatts to 800 megawatts if the economic benefits are superior.
Proposals must be submitted by Dec. 20 and one or more winning bids will be chosen by April 23, 2018.
Last fall, Deepwater completed the first offshore wind farm in the nation, a 30-megawatt test project in state waters southeast of Block Island.
A spokeswoman for Deepwater declined to disclose details about the project it will propose for Massachusetts. In a statement, CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said the company is “uniquely positioned to get the job done.”
“We’re confident we can deliver clean energy at the right size and the right price for Massachusetts ratepayers, and at the same time put people to work right here in the Commonwealth,” he said.
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