Massachusetts awards two contracts for combined 1.2GW of offshore wind capacity

Two contracts for offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 1.2GW have been jointly awarded by the US states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a recent tender.

The 800MW Vineyard Wind Project is set to become the first offshore wind project to be built in the waters off the coast of Massachusetts, after the contract was awarded to a joint venture entity called Vineyard Wind, comprised of Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The project was selected by the state authorities over a rival project proposed by Danish renewable energy outfit Orsted, after a review established that the former will provide ‘substantial ratepayer benefits’, according to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Rhode Island also announced it had selected a 400MW offshore wind project proposed by US wind energy company Deepwater Wind. The project, called Revolution Wind, will be located South of Martha’s Vineyard.

Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski described the joint announcement as “the first really large-scale procurement ever for offshore wind in the United States.

“It means that offshore wind is no longer a growing industry, it really is an industry that’s maturing,” he added.

Advocates of renewable energy hope that this move will open the floodgates for further development of the offshore wind sector. There are only five offshore farms currently in operation in the US, compared to over 4,000 in Europe.