Anbaric Development Partners has gained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop a shared transmission system to enable Massachusetts to fully harness the potential of offshore wind power.
The FERC decision grants authority to solicit customers and sell transmission rights to a 2,000 to 2,400 MW offshore wind transmission system in southern New England called the "Massachusetts Ocean Grid." FERC's approval of the application allows ADP to offer its backbone transmission system to offshore wind developers that currently hold federal leases as well as future lease holders who are likely to emerge.
Developing a transmission backbone to efficiently expand offshore capacity would bolster Massachusetts' long-term energy vision, ADP CEO Edward Krapels said. "We're grateful for the green light from FERC because much is at stake. Massachusetts needs to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a worldwide leader in offshore wind."
Krapels added: "The Massachusetts Ocean Grid will provide a common offshore interconnection point for multiple wind developers, rather than relying on each wind developer to build its own individual generator lead. The transmission backbone must be carefully designed to optimize the limited number of on-shore interconnection points, maximize competition among wind generators, and minimize the environmental impact of the transmission needed to bring offshore wind to market."
In August 2016, Massachusetts passed the Energy Diversity Act that requires state-regulated utilities to acquire 1,600 MW of offshore wind by June 30, 2027. The first RFP was issued on June 29 with the Massachusetts utilities seeking bids for at least 400 MW from offshore wind developers. The winning bid is expected to be announced this spring.
"This first RFP is an important step towards kick starting the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. To realize the potential of offshore wind, however, a backbone offshore grid must be carefully developed and remain independent of the individual wind farm developers. An independent transmission system like Ocean Grid will open the offshore wind market to more than just three bidders and is critical to the Commonwealth's ability to get the competitive prices that consumers deserve."
The first leg of the Massachusetts Ocean Grid is projected to be in place by December 2021 with the full system operating by 2025.