Rhode Island utility issues RfP for up to 1GW offshore wind

Governor Dan McKee of Rhode Island has announced a request for proposals (RfP) for between 600MW and 1GW of offshore wind for the state’s largest utility, Rhode Island Energy.

Block Island was the first operational offshore wind farm in the US (pic credit: GE Renewable Energy/Jeff Milstein)

“Continuing Rhode Island’s national leadership in the offshore wind industry, today we are announcing the request for proposals for our third major offshore wind project, which will contribute to our state’s clean energy future,” said McKee.

This offshore wind procurement will have the potential to meet at least 30% of Rhode Island’s estimated 2030 electricity demand, said the governor’s office.

In July, Governor McKee signed legislation that sought to expand Rhode Island’s offshore wind energy resources. It required a market-competitive procurement for between 600MW and 1GW of newly developed offshore wind capacity.

Rhode Island, a small New England state, has a target of sourcing 100% of its electricity demand from renewable energy by 2033.

The US’s first offshore wind farm - 30MW Block Island - was commissioned off Rhode Island in 2016. It is owned by Ørsted and was developed by local firm Deepwater Wind.

A second RfP for offshore wind was announced in 2020.

The third RfP, when added to Block Island as well as the in-development 400MW Revolution project, means that about half of the state’s project energy needs will be powered by offshore wind.

In the first tender, state utility National Grid agreed to buy output from 400MW of Ørsted and Eversouce’s 704MW Revolution project.

Commenting on the latest RfP , Chris Kearns, interim state energy commissioner, said: “With the release of the state’s largest offshore wind procurement RfP to date, Rhode Island is demonstrating our commitment to securing clean energy, reducing our dependence on natural gas, stabilizing long-term energy costs for consumers and capturing significant economic development and job benefits.”

Project proposals to Rhode Island Energy from bidders are required by 1 February.