Massachusetts has launched a new tender for 1.6GW of offshore wind capacity – its largest auction to date.
Developers will be able to submit plans for projects of at least 200MW in capacity, and up to 1.6GW, according to a request for proposals (RFP) submitted by Massachusetts' utilities Unitil, National Grid and Eversource.
Bid prices will be capped at $77.76/MWh, or $70.26/MWh if the project starts construction before 2026 and therefore benefits from a 30% investment tax credit from the US federal government. The $77.76/MWh bid cap would be equal to the price awarded for Mayflower Wind, when accounting for inflation, according to the RFP.
Bids are due by 23 September, with Massachusetts’ utilities due to select successful projects by 17 December.
They will then aim to negotiate contracts by 28 March 2022, and submit them to the state’s department of energy resources for approval by 27 April 2022.
It is unclear when the project must be online.
The 1.6GW tender is the state’s largest auction for offshore wind to date, and follows two rounds – each of which awarded about 800MW of capacity.
So far, Massachusetts utilities have agreed to purchase more than 1.6GW of offshore wind power, made up of the 800MW Vineyard Wind site – 400MW Vineyard Wind 1 phase I and 400MW Vineyard Wind 1 phase II – and the 804MW Mayflower Wind project. Despite permitting delays slowing down construction of the former, the wind farms are due online in 2023 and 2025 respectively.
Earlier this year, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed into law legislation targeting net zero emissions in 2050 and procurement of an additional 2.4GW of additional offshore wind capacity by 2027. He had initially vetoed it, citing cost concerns.