Eversource Energy USA is moving into the offshore wind business, and on Wednesday announced plans to jointly develop a major project with DONG Energy, a windpower firm based in Denmark.
Bay State Wind would be located 15-25 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in a deepwater area dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of Wind” for its potential to generate vast amounts of clean electricity.
In 2015, DONG Energy secured rights to the area in a process run by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Deepwater Wind and OffshoreMW also hold federal leases in the region off the Massachusetts coast.
In August, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an energy bill that mandates state utilities purchase 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2027.
“This represents a landmark moment for the offshore wind industry in the United States,” the Bay State Wind partners said in a joint statement.
Bay State Wind is DONG Energy’s first proposed U.S. offshore wind farm.
DONG and Eversource said around 8,000 megawatts of New England power generation is expected to go offline in the next several years. What’s more, Massachusetts has set aggressive goals to reduce its carbon emissions. Offshore wind can help fill the power gap with clean, reliable, and cost-effective electricity, the companies said.
“We are encouraged by the dramatic progress that Europe is making in the offshore wind market. Wind technology is rapidly advancing, output is increasing and prices are dramatically dropping,” said Lee Olivier, a business development executive for Eversource.
Both touted potential economic benefits, saying offshore wind could lower wholesale energy prices, create jobs, build a manufacturing supply chain, and support economic development at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.
The first competitive state-led offshore wind procurement process under Massachusetts’ new energy law is expected to begin in June 2017.
Pictured is an offshore wind facility in the United Kingdom. Eversource and the Danish DONG Energy plan to jointly develop a deepwater offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. (By Phil Hollman from London, U.K. via Wikimedia Commons)