Massachusetts

2nd wind developer moves to terminate its contracts off Martha's Vineyard

The installation would've gone towards the Healey administration's goal for more clean energy infrastructure throughout Massachusetts

File photo of an offshore wind farm.
Sina Schuldt/dpa (Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Another offshore wind developer took a major step Tuesday toward scrapping its initial plans for an installation in waters off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.

SouthCoast Wind, whose pair of successful bids represented a combined 1,200 megawatts of anticipated offshore wind power, agreed to pay utility companies $60 million to terminate contracts the parties previously struck for the clean energy.

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The penalty would be divided into $32.4 million for Eversource, $27.3 million for National Grid and $591,000 for Unitil, according to contract amendments filed with the Department of Public Utilities.

The utility companies would then credit the payments to their ratepayers through contract adjustments.

A massive field of offshore wind turbines is being built off Martha's Vineyard — and Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker is among nine governors calling for the federal government to prioritize wind energy development.

The move makes official the developer's attempt to cancel existing contracts after months of warning that the project was no longer financially viable under the negotiated prices as a result of economic trends.

Like Commonwealth Wind, another developer whose termination agreement won approval from state regulators last week, SouthCoast Wind officials have signaled they plan to resubmit a bid for the project in the next state solicitation, hoping to secure a higher price for their project and its energy.

The Department of Public Utilities will still need to give the green light to SouthCoast Wind's proposed termination agreement.

If regulators sign off, the amount of already-approved offshore wind energy in the state's pipeline would drop to just 800 megawatts after hitting a high of 3,200 megawatts.

The Healey administration is seeking between 400 megawatts and 3,600 megawatts in the next round of bidding set to open early next year.

Massachusetts must secure 5,600 megawatts by 2027 to comply with a state clean energy law. CommonWealth Magazine first reported about the SouthCoast Wind termination agreement.

Copyright State House News Service
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