Massachusetts Electric Companies and DOER Propose RFP for Offshore Wind Clean Energy Projects
On April 28, 2017, the Massachusetts investor-owned electric distribution companies  (Distribution Companies), in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) (together, the Soliciting Parties), submitted for review by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) a joint request for proposals (RFP) for up to 800 MW of Offshore Wind Energy Generation and associated transmission to enter into long-term contracts of 15 – 20 years. The Soliciting Parties expect to issue the final RFP on June 30, 2017, with bid submissions due in December 2017.
The proposed RFP is the Soliciting Parties initial solicitation to contract for Offshore Wind Energy Generation consistent with Section 83C of the Green Communities Act, as amended in 2016, which requires the Distribution Companies to enter into cost-effective, long-term contracts for generation equal to 1,600 MW of aggregate nameplate capacity by no later than June 30, 2027. Together with the ongoing solicitation for onshore Clean Energy Generation issued on March 31, 2017 (and previously summarized here), the RFP reflects the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to procuring additional clean energy and provides bidders with a substantial opportunity to assist Massachusetts in meeting those commitments in a timely manner. This alert provides a high-level summary of the RFP, as well as next steps and important dates to remember.
Under the Climate Protection and Green Economy Act,  Massachusetts is required to “establish goals and meet targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, 2030, 2040, and 2050.”  Most immediately, the act requires a GHG emissions reduction of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Consistent with Section 83C of the 2008 Green Communities Act, as amended in 2016,  the RFP encourages proposals that will “maximize the Commonwealth’s ability to achieve such emissions reduction goals.” 
PURPOSE OF THE RFP
The RFP seeks proposals for “Offshore Wind Energy Generation” and/or RECs, as well as associated transmission necessary to deliver such generation to the ISO-New England, Inc.’s (ISO-NE) Pool Transmission Facilities (PTF) onshore. The RFP defines “Offshore Wind Energy Generation” as:
[O]ffshore electric generating resources derived from wind that: (1) are Class I renewable energy generating sources, as defined in Section 11F of Chapter 25A of the General Laws; (2) have a commercial operations date on or after January 1, 2018, that has been verified by the Department of Energy Resources; and (3) operate in a designated wind energy area for which an initial federal lease was issued on a competitive basis after January 1, 2012.
The Soliciting Parties seek to procure a total of 400 MW of Offshore Wind Energy Generation, but will consider proposals for up to approximately 800 MW, and may contract for an amount in excess of 400 MW if a “larger-scaled proposal is both superior to other proposals . . . and is likely to produce significantly more economic benefits to ratepayers.” 
Each bidder must submit at least one bid for a 400 MW generation project. ++Read full article at JD Supra