Originally appears in CommonWealth, January 17, 2018

MASSACHUSETTS HAS A ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION opportunity to build a world-class offshore wind industry. The Commonwealth has embarked on a series of procurements to develop at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind, enough to power 600,000 homes over the next 10 years, and will likely build much more than that. Millions of Bay State consumers will depend on this new ocean-based renewable energy. It will entail construction of hundreds of the most modern wind towers.

This enormous array of large wind projects will be procured over the next 10 years. But one essential component hasn’t been given adequate consideration: At its very foundation, the offshore effort requires a new, world-class, ocean transmission system. And it has to be built right — with a vision that anticipates the inevitable expansion of offshore wind power and the compelling benefits of shared infrastructure that will take it to shore. Massachusetts needs to ramp up its renewable portfolio rather than being forced to burn dirty fossil fuels during cold snaps like the one we just experienced.

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