Wednesday, March 20, 2019

New England States Move Toward Renewables Contracts

By William Opalka

Developers of six renewable projects totaling about 460 MW will start contract negotiations with New England states in the next phase of a multistate effort to procure clean energy.

Project solicitors last week completed the evaluation phase of the New England Clean Energy request for proposals. (See New England States Combine on Clean Energy Procurement.)

Four of the projects will negotiate with three states: Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts; two projects will proceed with only Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The solicitation generated 24 responses from 30 developers, some in teams.

“Not all projects selected to advance to contract negotiation at this stage will necessarily obtain approved contracts, which may affect the total contracted megawatts resulting from this” request for proposals, the states said in announcing the selections.

The states said they expect to negotiate better power prices in combination than they would have if they acted alone.

Most of the generation would come from solar projects. The selected bidders are:

  • Ranger Solar, with five solar projects totaling 220 MW in Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire;
  • Deepwater Wind’s 26-MW solar facility in Connecticut;
  • Ameresco’s 20-MW solar project, also in Connecticut;
  • Antrim Wind’s 26-MW wind project in New Hampshire;
  • EverPower’s 126-MW Cassadaga wind project in Chautauqua County in western New York; and
  • Two 20-MW solar projects from RES Americas, one in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.
new england renewable power

Solar Farm | SEBANE

In an updated timeline, the states want electric distribution utilities to enter contracts with the bidders by Jan. 15, which would be filed with the states’ regulators by March 1.

The states ended up focusing on renewable generation projects and bypassed transmission. Two high-profile projects that would have imported Canadian hydropower did not make the cut: Eversource Energy’s Northern Pass, which is planned to run through New Hampshire; and Anbaric Transmission’s Vermont Green Line, which would have connected wind power in New York, combined with Canadian hydropower, and be buried under Lake Champlain and underground in Vermont.

Several transmission projects that would move wind power from Maine to load centers farther south were also rejected in the RFP. Eversource’s 600-MW Clean Energy Connect between Massachusetts and New York did not advance.

“We are pleased with the key approvals the project continues to receive and look forward to participating in the April solicitation for large-scale hydroelectricity,” Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource New Hampshire Operations, said in a statement. “The region’s energy landscape is shifting quickly. Northern Pass, with its 1,090 MW of clean hydropower, and permitting well underway on both sides of the border, is in a strong position to play an important role in helping the region achieve a cleaner energy future.”

Massachusetts will issue its own RFP next year to procure renewable energy, which would give Northern Pass, Clean Energy Connect and others another chance. (See Massachusetts Bill Boosts Offshore Wind, Canadian Hydro.)

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