New England Offshore Wind Project Would Supply Energy to Mass. Public Power Utilities

October 19, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
October 19, 2021

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, on Oct. 13 announced that Vineyard Wind’s recent Commonwealth Wind proposal includes a first of its kind partnership with Energy New England (ENE) that will allow municipal light plants (MLPs) in Massachusetts to purchase offshore wind power.

Under the agreement, MLPs would be able to purchase up to 146,000 megawatt hours per year in addition to renewable energy credits (RECs), reducing carbon pollution by 300,000-400,000 tons over the lifetime of the contract, ENE said.

Commonwealth Wind will be able to deliver up to 1,200 megawatts of energy to Massachusetts.

The agreement will enable the MLPs, which currently provide 15% of the state’s energy baseload, to make meaningful progress toward meeting renewable energy targets, as required under Massachusetts’ new climate law, ENE noted.

The 20 Massachusetts MLPs able to participate in the Commonwealth Wind project, if successful, include:

  • Belmont Municipal Light Department
  • Braintree Electric Light Department,
  • Chester Municipal Electric Light Department
  • Concord Municipal Light Plant
  • Danvers Electric Division
  • Georgetown Municipal Light Department
  • Groveland Municipal Light Department
  • Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant
  • Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments
  • Mass Development/Devens Utility
  • Merrimac Municipal Light Department
  • Middleborough Gas & Electric Department
  • Middleton Municipal Electric Department
  • North Attleborough Electric Department
  • Norwood Municipal Light Department
  • Reading Municipal Light Department
  • Rowley Municipal Lighting Plant
  • Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant
  • Wellesley Municipal Light Plant
  • Westfield Gas & Electric Light Department

“As public power utilities continue to add non-emitting resources to their portfolios, it’s critical that they are able to join in on joint ventures such as the Vineyard Wind project,” said American Public Power Association President and CEO Joy Ditto. “This innovative partnership will enable the region’s not-for-profit, community-owned public power utilities to achieve local climate change goals as well as more diverse power generation portfolios.”

“This is a significant partnership between Vineyard Wind and ENE with its MLP clients, one that signifies the commitment that all the relevant parties have to the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals,” said John Tzimorangas, President and CEO of Energy New England, in a statement.

“The willingness of the MLPs to participate in this proposal and to continue their commitment to reducing emissions, as they have been doing, adds to their non-emitting portfolios. Working with the Vineyard Wind team, we’ve created a proposal that truly benefits the entire Commonwealth, bringing together private and public entities in an effort to provide the best proposal to Massachusetts in their latest solicitation for off-shore wind power,” he said.

Implementation of the plan is contingent on Commonwealth Wind being selected by the state in the most recent round of solicitation for offshore wind energy. 

Commonwealth Wind is a newly proposed offshore wind project submitted to Massachusetts’ third competitive offshore wind solicitation. 

If awarded, Commonwealth Wind will be developed in an area 22 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard that was designated by the federal government in 2015 following a multi-year stakeholder process.

ENE is a wholesale risk management and energy trading organization that serves the needs of public power utilities in the Northeast.

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