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Another Offshore Wind Farm May Be Coming South of MV

Wind turbines off Block Island, Rhode Island.

Massachusetts utilities have selected Mayflower Wind to build what the state hopes will be the second offshore wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard. The company won the state's most recent procurement for an 800 megawatt farm, and the state says it has proposed the cheapest offshore wind rate yet. 

“The selection of an additional 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s significant clean energy investments and will help lower the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and diversify our energy portfolio,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said in a press release. 

Back in August, Mayflower Wind entered the state's bid process with four different options for a proposed wind farm; some offered extra infrastructure, like a manufacturing facility, but with a higher rate, and others simply offered a cheaper rate. The state selected the option with the cheapest rate, saying its competitive rate was lower than that of competitors Vineyard Wind and Bay State Wind. 

Mayflower Wind president John Hartnett said the cheap energy rate will provide economic benefits of its own. 

"Low cost renewable energy will drive the state economy, and will assist in the state meeting its overall climate objectives. And that’s really the engine that is going to drive economic growth," he said.

The company has proposed producing 804 megawatts for the state.  Combined with Vineyard Wind's existing 800 megawatt proposal, that means the state is on track to meet its renewable energy goal set in 2016. 

Vineyard Wind's current project, which was set to begin construction this year, has run into federal permitting hurdles, stalling the project indefinitely. Nonetheless, Hartnett said Mayflower was not concerned that this would hinder the industry's growth in Massachusetts. 

"We have a very, very strong working relationship with both federal agencies and state and local agencies on developing projects," Hartnett said. "While we were disappointed when the Vineyard Project was delayed earlier this year... ultimately, this hiccup will be beneficial for the industry and certainly the Mayflower project." 

Earlier this year, Mayflower Wind also won a bid to procure offshore wind power for Connecticut. 

Their offshore wind farm is set to begin construction in 2024 and to begin producing power by 2025. Mayflower Wind Energy is a joint venture of the Shell oil company and EDP Renewables, which is part of the Portuguese energy company EDP (Energias de Portugal).