BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities has issued an Order approving long-term contracts for 800MW of offshore wind between Vineyard Wind and the Commonwealth’s Electric Distribution Companies.

These contracts result from An Act Relative to Energy Diversity, signed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2016, and will ultimately spur economic development along the coast, ensure a resilient energy future for the Commonwealth and secure progress toward greenhouse gas reduction requirements.

Additionally, Vineyard Wind has committed in these contracts to contribute $15 million to a fund that will invest in projects designed to promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities and support the Commonwealth’s goal to further the development of energy storage systems across the state.

“The approval of these contracts is an important step toward the completion of the largest offshore wind project in the country, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide Massachusetts residents and businesses with cost-effective clean energy and promote economic development,” said Gov. Baker.

Vineyard Wind’s bid was selected for contract negotiation in May 2018 based on criteria established under a Request for Proposals (RFP) previously subject to public comment and submitted to the DPU for review and approval on July 31, 2018.

Criteria used in the evaluation of the bids included an economic evaluation of the benefits for ratepayers, the project’s ability to foster employment and economic development in the Commonwealth, and the project’s environmental impacts and the extent to which a project demonstrates that it avoids or mitigates impacts to natural resources and tourism. As a result of a stringent review, Vineyard Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers by delivering approximately 800 MW of offshore wind capacity per year while providing substantial ratepayer benefits.  The DPU’s Order approved the selection and found that these contracts are cost-effective as well as in the public interest.

“This approval by the Department of Public Utilities ensures that this project offering competitively priced and locally produced offshore wind energy to the Commonwealth can move forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The administration looks forward to continuing to grow its emerging offshore wind industry while leading the nation in combating climate change.”

“Massachusetts is committed to being a leader in the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Department of Public Utilities Chairman Matt Nelson. “These contracts will provide fuel diversification in the Commonwealth and enhance the reliability of the regional system, continuing the Commonwealth’s practice of leading the nation in innovation and renewable energy.”

On March 27, 2019, Massachusetts reinforced its commitment to offshore wind and clean energy when the Commonwealth’s Electric Distribution Companies submitted their second RFP to the DPU for up to 800MW of additional offshore wind.

This Order continues the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy and meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In August 2016, Governor Baker signed into law bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation requiring utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1,600MW of offshore wind and approximately 1,200MW of clean energy. The administration’s new solar incentive program, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), will support an additional 1,600 MW of solar in Massachusetts, nearly doubling the amount installed as of today at half the estimated pricing of existing programs.

Information from the Mass. Department of Public Utilities.