United States

United States

New England states bank on funding for joint offshore wind transmission projects

Six states off the New England coast with potential for more than 14GW of offshore wind in federal waters have applied for federal funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for transmission infrastructure investment to integrate them with the onshore grid.

Artist’s impression of the offshore wind lease areas off the coast of New England (pic credit: BOEM)
Artist’s impression of the offshore wind lease areas off the coast of New England (pic credit: BOEM)

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont proposed a Joint State Innovation Partnership for Offshore Wind when applying for the DOE’s Grid Innovation Program (GIP), which will award up to $250 million per project to support innovative approaches to transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure that enhance grid resilience and reliability.

By pursuing a regional approach, the states aim to optimise transmission infrastructure investments, providing cost savings and better winter reliability for residents and businesses across New England. The region sits at the end of an often-constrained gas pipeline while relying on natural gas to generate nearly half of its electricity demand.

The proposed partnership between the six states, transmission providers and wind developers – working closely with the New England grid operator – would “proactively plan, identify and select a portfolio of transmission projects needed to unlock the region’s significant offshore wind potential, improve grid reliability and resiliency, and invest in job growth”.

The partnership’s goals of promoting the benefits of offshore wind, facilitating a cost-cutting regional approach to transmission and improving grid reliability are aligned with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s call for innovative energy grid infrastructure. The regional approach would alleviate concerns that traditional offshore point-to-point interconnections to land would “use up” the available onshore transmission infrastructure.

With support from other New England states, Vermont’s Department of Public Service also applied for DOE GIP funding to support the New England Clean Power Link, a proposed 1GW transmission line between Quebec and Vermont enabling additional imports of hydroelectric power and providing future capability for New England to export excess offshore wind to Canada.

After evaluating the submissions it has received, DOE will invite some applicants to submit full proposals for GIP funding by May 2023. DOE anticipates awarding up to $2 billion in its first funding cycle, with additional funding available in subsequent rounds.

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