- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Files Historic Draft RFP for Massachusetts’ Fourth Offshore Wind Solicitation
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Boston — The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the electric distribution companies (EDCs) jointly filed a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), which if approved, would represent the fourth and largest offshore wind solicitation to date. This filing demonstrates the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s continued commitment to building a robust and sustainable offshore wind industry for Massachusetts, while mitigating and minimizing detrimental environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
If approved, the draft RFP will invite submittals for offshore wind generation to procure up to 3,600 MW, which represents 25 percent of the state’s annual electricity demand and a significant increase over the previous procurement, which sought approximately 1,600 MW of offshore wind. This would be the largest procurement for offshore wind energy generation ever in New England.
A background briefing with DOER will be held today at 1 pm. RSVP to Maria Hardiman at firstname.lastname@example.org for call-in info.
“We are excited to announce the first offshore wind procurement of our administration – the biggest in our region’s history,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This draft RFP is a signal to the rest of the world that Massachusetts is all-in on offshore wind and ready to be the industry’s hub. Our proposal is also a commitment to Massachusetts ratepayers to chase after all clean energy for our homes and businesses.”
“As Mayor of Salem, I helped position our port to support the growing offshore wind industry along our coastline. Now, we’re going big with our draft procurement to ramp up our procurement of offshore wind energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This RFP is the first step toward transforming how we power our communities across the state.”
“This RFP was drafted to boost the offshore wind industry to ensure that Massachusetts ratepayers and businesses get the affordable, clean energy they deserve and that we drive economic development across our region,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The clean energy transition is about the people of Massachusetts. Aggressively procuring wind energy will deliver cleaner air, lower energy bills, and good-paying jobs.”
“This RFP is crafted to capture the greatest benefit for Massachusetts’ ratepayers, communities, and businesses and to grow our blue energy economy,” said DOER Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony. “With this draft RFP, we are requiring projects include support for environmental justice populations and low-income ratepayers in the Commonwealth, and opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Contents of the Draft RFP
As drafted, the RFP will allow DOER to consider in its evaluation direct and indirect costs and benefits, environmental and socioeconomic impacts from siting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion plans. In contrast with previous years, this RFP makes clear the weight given to projects with robust economic development proposals that support minority- and women-owned businesses and support for low-income workers, workers of color, and workers from impacted environmental justice communities. Projects must also develop an environmental and fisheries mitigation plan that considers commercial, recreational, and indigenous fishing rights. To ensure low-income ratepayers can gain directly from the transition to clean energy, this draft RFP requires bidders to enter into agreements with DOER and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to provide various support for low-income ratepayers. Additionally, the experience and track record of the bidder will be included in the evaluation to help ensure projects are viable and have a high likelihood of achieving commercial operation to help the Commonwealth meet its clean energy goals and reach emissions limits.
This RFP allows for additional flexibility in proposals. To account for challenges driven by inflation and other macroeconomic trends, the draft RFP allows bidders to submit an alternative indexed pricing proposal intended to reduce risk to bidders and ratepayers. The RFP also accounts for the potential for savings resulting from federal tax credits. The RFP requires details on how the bids would utilize applicable tax credits and allows for flexibility in the RFP schedule if IRS program guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act is announced late in the bid preparation timeline. The procurement team would have flexibility to evaluate bids ranging from 400 MW to 2,400 MW in size, and to select a project or projects that bring significant benefits to the Commonwealth.
Under the proposed timeline, bids are due January 31, 2024. This proposed timeline allows project developers to incorporate several emerging initiatives, including anticipated federal program guidance on tax credits, federal grants for transmission upgrades, and additional coordination with regional state partners.
This RFP is the result of a collaborative effort, led by DOER in coordination with the EDCs, and in consultation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and an Independent Evaluator (IE). The drafting team developed the RFP based on the Commonwealth’s previous offshore wind procurements, lessons learned, and stakeholder comments received in March of this year.
Section 83C of the Green Communities Act, as most recently amended in August 2022 by An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, sets the parameters for this offshore wind solicitation. DOER and the EDCs requested DPU’s approval of the proposed RFP, as required by Section 83C. Prior to approval, the DPU will review the RFP’s timetable and method of solicitation, invite public comments, and issue an Order with any necessary changes for the RFP. Only once the DPU has given its approval and such changes are sufficient, will the RFP be issued by the EDCs, in coordination with the DOER.
This solicitation is the first time DOER is primarily responsible for drafting the RFP, leading the evaluation team, and selecting the winning bidders. DOER will be joined by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the EDCs, and the IE in conducting a robust and complete evaluation of proposals received under the RFP.
The goal of the procurement is to solicit proposals in an open, fair, and non-discriminatory fashion. The Commonwealth seeks to identify offshore wind projects that have a strong likelihood of being financed, constructed, and provide a reliable and cost-effective source of clean energy to the Commonwealth.
The procurement will be monitored by the IE, who will report to the DPU on both the solicitation and bid selection process. Following the RFP evaluation process, DOER may select a project or projects, in consultation with the IE, that most effectively meet(s) the goals of the RFP and the objectives and requirements of Section 83C of the Green Communities Act.