Massachusetts pushes offshore
State senate bill would set 2GW goal for sector
Massachusetts Senate lawmakers have raised the stakes for offshore wind energy in a comprehensive energy bill working its way through the legislature.
The House recently passed a bill that requires utilities to buy 1.2GW of offshore wind energy and 1.2GW of large-scale hydroelectricity.
The Senate bill would establish a goal of 2GW of offshore wind energy and 1.5GW from other renewable energy sources, including hydropower.
The Senate version also does not exclude the 468MW Cape Wind project from competing for a contract. According to the House bill, the wind farm planned in Nantucket Sound would not be eligible.
Dong Energy and OffshoreMW hold commercial leases for a pair of 1GW sites in federal waters about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.
The legislation would require utilities to hold competitive solicitations by October 2017 and sign long-term contracts of 15 to 20 years. The New England state has among the most expensive electricity in the US.
The Senate is expected to debate the bill on 30 June and then lawmakers from both houses will work to resolve any differences.
Governor Charlie Baker has said he wants to sign the law before the legislative session ends on 31 July.