Library from Massachusetts
The Baker administration wants to look into the potential of having one underwater transmission line that could feed electricity generated by multiple offshore wind farms into the regional power grid, but that plan got a cool reception from offshore wind executives attending an industry conference in Boston this week.
CENTERVILLE — With a final environmental impact decision from the federal government pending, Vineyard Wind representatives met with the community again Thursday to shed light on preliminary construction plans for Covell Beach, where they plan to install high-voltage electricity transmission cables on Barnstable’s southern shoreline.
A report released Friday by the Department of Energy Resources calls for the state to move forward with an additional procurement of up to 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity, or enough to power up to 1 million homes. That would be on top of the 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind Massachusetts was authorized to award contracts for under a 2016 renewable energy law.
A chart in the report noted the Vineyard Wind contract price was 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017 dollars, slightly higher than the price of Quebec hydro-electricity being purchased in a separate procurement and double the price of electricity produced with natural gas. The offshore wind price was half the price of the state’s least-subsidized solar power option.
The three electric distribution companies in Massachusetts have together issued a request for a second round of offshore wind energy, ...The utility companies are seeking a levelized price per megawatt-hour lower than the price settled on with Vineyard Wind in the first contract, as the law requires.
The state Energy Facilities Siting Board approved petitions Thursday that will allow Vineyard Wind to land its high-voltage electricity transmission cables on Barnstable’s southern shoreline and connect them to a new substation off Independence Way in Hyannis.
Officials have started working toward moving two town-owned wind turbines beyond Falmouth’s borders Wednesday with publication of an advertisement in the Central Register seeking letters of interest from any public and private property owner “with enough land, wind resource and electrical interconnection capacity” to host one or both of the massive pair.
The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership claims that the 84-turbine offshore wind project soon to be developed by Vineyard Wind lacks scientific backing and will inevitably harm the local ecology and way of life for fishermen and boaters.
The changed amendment ...would direct the Department of Public Utilities to not approve any subsequent offshore wind contract “if the levelized price per megawatt hour, plus associated transmission costs, is greater than or equal to the adjusted levelized price per megawatt hour, plus transmission costs, that resulted from the previous procurement after adjusting such procurement’s price for the availability of federal tax credits, inflation and incentives.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved multibillion dollar offshore wind contracts with Vineyard Wind on Friday and, over the objections of Attorney General Maura Healey, authorized the state’s three utilities to collect an additional $168 million from ratepayers just for carrying the contracts on their books.
Vineyard Wind says it will adopt research measures recommended by a local university to monitor the effects on fisheries of the 84-turbine offshore wind farm.
Officials said the first priority is to secure approval from the Department of Public Utilities for the RFP, then ask for company responses by August, and award the contract or contracts in November – allowing just enough time to take advantage of the 12 percent federal investment tax credit that expires at the end of 2019.
In a March 15 letter, Michael Pentony, the head of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, warned that the report on Vineyard Wind completed by the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in December included conclusions that were not well supported by data and needed additional analysis of several key angles of impact.
The company believes the robust transmission infrastructure will help Massachusetts realize its offshore wind goals while protecting the public from unnecessary costs and reducing environmental impacts. Conant stated that by using HVDC technology, Anbaric can connect 1,200MW of wind via a single cable bundle, while to move the same amount of energy with AC would require three or four separate cables, each in its own corridor.
This letter by US NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony raises serious concerns regarding the impacts of the 800 MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind facility proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. Concerns center on impacts to New England’s fisheries, marine life, and ocean habitats. The letter was sent to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and provides comment on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
The March 12 Vineyard Wind public forum at Barnstable Town Hall gave residents a chance to question company officials.
To me, these three proposed wind farms are a money grab, business venture with taxpayers on the hook. There is nothing Vineyard about Vineyard Wind. I wonder how many of the company executives own electric cars, stopped flying, or practice what they preach. A few people are going to make a lot of money, and a lot of us are going to pay for it.
As Massachusetts gets ready to issue its second request for offshore wind proposals, the state is weighing whether to speed up its procurement process to allow developers to reap federal tax benefits. Energy developers and environmental groups are encouraging the state to launch the solicitation as soon as next month.
The only part of Vineyard Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket waters is an undersea cable running from the turbines 14 miles southwest of the island through the Muskeget Channel to Covell’s Beach in Centerville. But fisherman Dan Pronk is worried that the impact the 84 turbines would have on the underwater ecosystem and the fishing industry is tremendous. “There’s nothing good about it,” he said.
When Vineyard Wind won the state’s first round of bidding for offshore energy contracts last year, the developer pleasantly surprised just about everyone with its super-low price.