Wakefield, Mass. — September 14, 2020 — The Massachusetts Legislature’s proposals for an ambitious expansion of offshore wind procurement goals have prompted representatives of the fishing industry, business community, and academia to call for early action on an offshore transmission system to minimize impacts on fisheries and the environment, reduce costs, and achieve decarbonization goals. The Legislature is considering bills that significantly expand offshore wind targets, including one with a goal of 6,000 megawatts. That could result in as many as 15 separate cables from individual wind farms unless action is taken soon to develop transmission separately to connect the full amount of renewable energy to shore.
“Massachusetts needs transmission infrastructure now that can optimize connections to the grid and efficiently serve multiple wind farms,” said Stephen Conant, President of Anbaric’s Massachusetts OceanGrid. “Unless the industry addresses transmission, offshore wind projects could run into roadblocks on the grid that have caused onshore wind projects to fail and solar energy projects to suffer significant delays.”
Fishing industry representatives noted that planned, independent offshore transmission could reduce impacts on fisheries. Annie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) stated, “Like many elements of offshore wind planning that could reduce impacts to fisheries, it’s incredible that we’re this far down the road without having ever addressed coordinated transmission.”
As legislators consider two bills to expand procurement goals, one nearly doubling Massachusetts’ total target to 6,000 megawatts, a separate RFP for procuring transmission would create a more competitive landscape in Massachusetts’ emerging offshore wind industry, one that benefits ratepayers.
Bob Rio, Senior Vice President of and Counsel, Government Affairs at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts noted: “A shared transmission model can simplify and enable offshore wind expansion, potentially reducing costs.”
A separate approach for transmission will also be critical to achieving Massachusetts’ and the region’s overall climate and energy objectives. Dr. Eric Hines of Tufts University, advised that, “If we wish to achieve a low-carbon economy by mid-century, then transmission is as important as generation and ought to be considered on its own terms.”
Legislators can avoid risks of inadequate transmission planning by advancing legislation that authorizes independent procurement of offshore transmission. This proven approach would mirror the European model of developing offshore transmission separately from wind farms and would build on successful efforts by California, Texas and other states to build independent transmission for renewable energy.
Supporting analyses and additional information are available at TransmissionNOW.org
Anbaric is a majority employee-owned, US-based company focused on planning and scaling offshore transmission. The company is a partnership between the Anbaric partners and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which as of June 30, 2020, had net assets under management of $204.7 billion CAD. Anbaric helped spearhead the development of two similar subsea projects between PJM and the NYISO which were delivered on schedule and on budget. Anbaric is committed to developing transmission systems for offshore wind in the US with a focus on Southern New England, New Jersey and New York as well as in Canada. For more information visit www.anbaric.com.