The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has selected a bid from developer Vineyard Wind to advance to contract negotiations with the state’s electric distribution companies
The power from 804 MW of offshore wind will be provided by Vineyard Wind’s Park City Wind project. Vineyard Wind is a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is majority owned by Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, each of whom own 50% of Vineyard Wind.
The bid was selected through a competitive request for proposals DEEP conducted following legislation signed by Governor Ned Lamont in June 2019. Work at Bridgeport is scheduled to get underway in 2021, with construction of the windfarm beginning in 2023 and the project coming online in 2025. This is assuming that Park City Wind is not delayed in any way, as Vineyard Wind’s initial project in the US has been by a review of all offshore wind development in the US by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Selection of the project – which will provide the equivalent of 14% of the state’s electricity supply – represents the largest purchase of renewable energy in Connecticut’s history. It will more than double the amount of zero-carbon renewable energy procured by DEEP to date. It also represents a major step toward Governor Lamont’s goal of a 100% zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040.
DEEP said the Park City Wind project was offered at a price lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America but has not confirmed what that price is yet. It includes an estimated US$890M in direct economic development in Connecticut, including Bridgeport Harbour and the local supply chain. It also includes a commitment to pay no less than the prevailing wage and to negotiate in good faith for a mutually agreeable project labour agreement. Vineyard Wind estimates 2,800 direct full-time employment years will be created in Connecticut through the project. The announcement brings the amount of offshore wind under development in US waters to slightly over 9 GW.
“Connecticut is diversifying its offshore wind portfolio with this latest procurement selection, which sets up Connecticut as a regional leader in the creation of a thriving industry that will bring tangible benefits for our state and the entire region,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
Vineyard Wind chief executive Lars Pedersen said, “Today’s announcement takes Connecticut one step closer to being the epicentre of the offshore wind industry in the US, with thriving ports in both Bridgeport and New London. We look forward to building on the work already underway with a network of project partners, local officials, the maritime community, other developers, and all stakeholders involved to make Connecticut a hub for the offshore wind industry in the US for decades to come.”
The final RFP for the solicitation was issued on 16 August 2019. On 30 October 2019 DEEP received more than 30 bid variants from three different developers in response to the RFP. DEEP completed its procurement process in record time, to capture lower pricing as a result of federal tax incentives set to expire in 2019.
The Park City Wind project will now enter into contract negotiations with the state’s two electric utilities, The United Illuminating Company and Eversource Energy, for a contract with a 20-year term.