- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Lowest cost wind price remains under wraps

Massachusetts electric ratepayers will have to wait a little longer before finding out just how low the promised “lowest cost offshore wind energy ever in the US” will cost them.

The long-term contracts between state utilities and Mayflower Wind, the joint venture of Shell and EDPR Offshore North America that has been picked to build and operate a wind farm approximately 26 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 20 nautical miles south of Nantucket, were not filed with the Department of Public Utilities on Friday as had been expected.

A spokesman for the project said Monday that the power purchase agreements – which are expected to detail pricing and other aspects of the 804-megawatt project that had been withheld from the publicly-released bid document – were executed Friday and will be submitted for DPU approval by the utilities once they are ready.

The original timeline anticipated that the contracts would be executed by Dec. 13, but the utilities said that negotiations over “some key contract terms” kept them from executing the contracts by that date.

That timeline called for the contracts to be filed with the DPU about 30 days later on Jan. 10. It is unclear whether the contracts executed on Jan. 10 will take the same 30 days to be filed with DPU.

A spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which oversees the DPU and the Department of Energy Resources, did not respond to a News Service inquiry Monday.

When Mayflower was announced as the preferred project to deliver about 800 MW of clean offshore wind power to Massachusetts, then-Commissioner Judith Judson of DOER said the Dec. 13 and Jan. 10 dates were targets, not deadlines the developer and electric companies had to meet.

“That’s an expectation that we have set forth and I know the EDCs will work towards that date, but it isn’t a deadline so we can really make sure that we get the best contract possible back,” she told the News Service in October.

Mayflower Wind submitted four unique proposals and the utilities chose the project that the developer calls its “Low Cost Energy” option. That project, Mayflower Wind said in its bid document, “is focused on generating the maximum benefits to ratepayers while providing [redacted] over the life of the project for initiatives to support the industry and local economy.” It also promises that the project will provide “the lowest price for offshore wind seen in the US.”

“This was an extremely strong bid, both in terms of competitive pricing as well as in terms of its commitment to economic development,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said in October.

Judson said at the time that the administration and distribution companies “were extremely pleased with the pricing we saw as well as the other benefits Mayflower brought into the solicitation.”