The Massachusetts legislature passed legislation on July 21st that allows the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to competitively solicit proposals for offshorewind (OSW) transmission. The legislation requires the signature of Governor Baker, but passed with veto proof majorities. The legislation specifically allows OSW developers to participate, but requires that the transmission facilities shall be made available for use by more than one OSW project. DOER may coordinate with other states (e.g., Connecticut with whom there have been discussions), ISO-New England and others. The legislation calls out proposals that may include federal funding, cost sharing among states, or recovery of costs through FERC approved rates.
When procuring OSW transmission, DOER is directed to consider reliability; avoid unnecessary upgrades to the grid; achieve the state’s OSW and decarbonization goals and obtain demonstrable benefits to consumers and the environment. Proposals may represent upgrades to the grid; extend the grid closer to OSW locations; upgrades to optimal landfall approaches; or interconnect offshore substations. Finally, if no solicitation occurs prior to September 31, 2023, DOER shall notify the legislation and provide a comprehensive explanation of their decision.