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    Saturday, July 13, 2024

    DEEP details three offshore wind proposals

    A fishing vessel travels in Block Island Sound, with one of the five, 6-megawatt wind turbine generators, comprising the first offshore wind farm in the United States, the 30 megawatt, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm by Deepwater Wind, in the background, on Dec. 20, 2016. Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has received three proposals for off-shore wind farms. (Tim Martin/The Day)
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    A day after two offshore wind developers announced proposals for Connecticut, state regulators released details of three total projects submitted this week, including one from New Bedford, Mass.-based Vineyard Wind LLC.

    Vineyard Wind will compete against proposals announced this week by Deepwater Wind and Baystate Wind, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Wednesday.

    A joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables — a subsidiary of Avangrid, United Illuminating's parent company — Vineyard Wind would inject 190 megawatts of power into Connecticut from a proposed large-scale windfarm 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard.

    The developer's proposal says Vineyard Wind could deliver power to "hundreds of thousands of homes across New England" and "make a significant contribution to the region's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy security and reliability."

    Developers said Vineyard Wind could create 450 jobs in Connecticut during construction and operations, starting as early as 2021. The proposal includes $10 million in grants split evenly between energy-storage projects through the Connecticut Green Bank and capital improvements by the Connecticut Port Authority.

    DEEP publicly released the proposal on Wednesday, when the agency also released competing 200-megawatt proposals from Deepwater Wind and Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Orsted and Eversource.

    All three proposals are heavily redacted, including details on costs and direct impact on ratepayers. Each of the proposals is flexible depending on the results of similar bidding processes ongoing in Massachusetts. Vineyard Wind, for instance, says that at up to 800 megawatts, the farm could supply more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes with power.

    Advocates say region ideal to support offshore wind

    Environmental advocates and labor leaders have enthusiastically backed DEEP's request for offshore wind proposals, saying the region has the workforce and logistics to play a major role in a growing market in New England.

    "Besides our obvious strategic location at the exact center of the region most likely to support offshore wind, New London also happens to be the only port between Boston and Norfolk with no height restrictions (no bridges) in the main channel," Scott Bates, Chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority, said in a statement Tuesday.

    But supporters of wind power say Connecticut is playing catch-up to Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maryland — each seeking proposals from private developers for wind farms producing between 400 and 1,100 megawatts of power.

    The Acadia Center and CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs recently argued lawmakers should increase the state's legal limit of about 250 megawatts for offshore wind proposals, especially considering the reduced reliance on coal and oil and the eventual closure of plants like Millstone Power Station, which generates more than 2,000 megawatts to power about 2 million homes.

    The groups note that in Europe, 10 countries have built 81 combined offshore wind farms — almost 3,600 turbines injecting 12,600 megawatts into the grid.

    DEEP to pick project in June

    DEEP, which announced its request for proposals in January, said it received three competing wind proposals and 20 bids for fuel cell projects this week. DEEP also received four proposals for anaerobic digestion, which breaks down organic matter such as animal or food waste, agricultural waste or wastewater sludge to produce biofertilizer or biogas for heating and power.

    DEEP spokesman Chris Collibee said regulators would select bidders in June. Utilities will execute contracts in the summer, with approval by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority set for the fall, Collibee said.

    The proposals come as Gov. Dannel Malloy and DEEP push to increase renewable energy deployment and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Deepwater Wind — the Rhode Island developer behind the Block Island Wind Farm — said it would funnel 200 megawatts of electricity to Connecticut from its proposed Revolution Wind project in federal waters between Montauk, N.Y., and Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

    Deepwater Wind proposes to build an offshore storage system to help supply power at peak demand times even when wind isn't blowing. The firm also plans to partner with National Grid Ventures to develop an offshore transmission system that could support future wind farms, even if they are built by competitors.

    Eversource and Orsted — which built the world's first offshore wind farm in 1991 — announced a joint proposal for a 200-megawatt offshore wind farm in federal waters 65 miles off the coast of New London. Dubbed Constitution Wind, the project could power 100,000 homes in the state, the companies said.

    They also said Constitution Wind would generate $16.1 million in state, local and federal taxes and provide $2 million to the Connecticut Economic Development Fund to spur the local economy. The proposal also includes a $600,000 investment in scholarships for energy-focused educational programs and a $4 million commitment to support the state's programs for low-income families.


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