Following the success of the Block Island Wind Farm, states have started adopting policies to encourage development of offshore wind facilities in the United States. One such state, Massachusetts, is moving forward on offshore wind with the assistance of investor-owned utilities Unitil, National Grid and Eversource. In coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the joint group issued an RFP last week for 400-800 MW of offshore wind generation off the coast of Massachusetts.
The RFP includes detailed instructions of how bids should be prepared as well as eligibility criteria and form long-term power purchase agreements with the utilities. Proposals under the RFP are due by December 20, 2017 with selection of the projects for negotiation planned for April 23, 2018. The RFP and related information can be found here. The RFP is part of a “staggered procurement schedule” developed by the utilities and DOER pursuant to Section 83 of Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, as amended by the Energy Diversity Act, both under Massachusetts law. Under the procurement schedule, the utilities are expected to enter into contracts providing a total of approximately 1600 MW of offshore wind generation by mid-2027.
As the offshore wind market continues to grow in the United States, developers and lenders should stay cognizant of the many potential legal issues with such projects, both in financing and complying with the regulatory requirements.