Massachusetts Regulators Direct Utilities to Shorten Offshore Wind Bid Evaluation Timeline

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) in a June 21 order directed National Grid, Unitil and Eversource Energy to shorten their proposed evaluation and contract negotiation periods for offshore wind bids.

While the due date for proposal submissions remains unchanged at Dec. 20, 2017, dates have been moved forward for the selection of projects for negotiation; negotiation and execution of contracts; and submission of contracts to the DPU for approval.

The utilities are required under the Green Communities Act to enter into long-term contracts for 1,600 MW of nameplate offshore wind capacity no later than June 30, 2027. In late April, the utilities jointly filed a request for DPU approval of a proposed timetable for solicitation and execution of those contracts.

The new schedule is as follows:

  • Selection of projects for negotiation is now April 23, 2018, (amended from May 22, 2018),
  • Negotiate and execute contracts is now July 2, 2018, (amended from Oct. 2, 2018),
  • Submit contracts for DPU approval is now July 31, 2018, (amended from Nov. 1, 2018).

The DPU said in its order that commenters in the case docket argued that the proposed timeline did not allow developers sufficient time to secure eligibility for the 2018 federal business investment tax credit (ITC), which will be reduced every year until it is phased out in 2020. The DPU concluded that it is in the public interest to approve a timeline that provides sufficient time for the market to develop and offer reasonable proposals, while enhancing the potential for projects to become eligible for