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Connecticut Governor Authorizes Offshore Wind Development

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By The Maritime Executive 2019-06-10 23:36:39

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has signed legislation that authorizes the development of offshore wind in Connecticut.

The legislation, which was approved last month in the House of Representatives, was given final legislative approval last week in the State Senate.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) plans to promptly begin the request for proposal process. Among its provisions, the legislation authorizes the state to purchase up to 2,000MW (or equivalent to 30 percent of state load) – the largest authorization by load of any state in the region. It also commits the state and DEEP to develop a commission to develop best management practices for minimizing impacts to wildlife, natural resources, ecosystems and commercial fishing during the construction and operation of facilities. Bidders will be required to develop mitigation plans that reflect these practices.

“Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England,” Lamont said. “This emerging industry has the potential to create hundreds of good paying jobs for the residents of our state and drive economic growth in towns along our shoreline. And by delivering zero carbon renewable energy, we can increase our region’s fuel security while also making significant progress toward meeting our climate goals. By adopting this new law, we are sending a clear message – Connecticut is serious about becoming a major player in the clean energy economy.”

The approval of the legislation follows a public-private partnership Lamont announced last month between the State of Connecticut, through the Connecticut Port Authority, terminal operator Gateway, and Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, that includes a plan to redevelop State Pier in New London into a world-class, state-of-the-art port facility. 

The partnership includes a combined $93 million investment to upgrade State Pier’s infrastructure and heavy-lift capability that will allow it to meet the facility requirements of the offshore wind industry and also increase its capability to accommodate heavy-lift cargo.

Eversource, New England's largest energy company and premier electric transmission builder, is paying approximately $225 million for a 50 percent interest in Ørsted’s Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind Farm projects, as well as the 257-square-mile tract off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Ørsted acquired all three assets in November 2018 as part of its Deepwater Wind transaction.

This transaction builds upon the companies’ Bay State Wind partnership, which is a 50-50 collaboration on a separate 300-square-mile ocean tract adjacent to the Deepwater Wind area. Together, Bay State Wind and the Deepwater Wind lease sites jointly owned by Eversource and Ørsted could eventually host at least 4,000MWs of offshore wind. 

In addition to the ocean tract, the partnership includes the following active offshore wind projects:

Revolution Wind (700MW), located approximately 15 miles south of the Rhode Island coast, will deliver power to Rhode Island (400MW) and Connecticut (300MW). Revolution Wind is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year, and it will generate enough energy to power more than 400,000 homes. Revolution Wind is expected to be commissioned in 2023.

South Fork Wind Farm (approximately 130MW), located 35 miles east of Long Island, will interconnect into eastern Long Island where it will deliver power to households under a long-term power purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. This wind farm will be the largest source of renewable energy on Long Island, which will help the towns of East Hampton and Southampton meet their 100 percent renewable energy goals, and New York State achieve its clean energy mandate. South Fork will generate enough energy to power 70,000+ homes. South Fork is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2022.