Governor Baker addressed a room full of offshore wind stakeholders at “The Future of Offshore Wind” Forum hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts on Wednesday morning. He applauded the developers, environmental groups, legislators and local students for the progress made in recent years which has led to a dramatic decrease in the price of offshore wind energy to ratepayers in recent years.
Thanks to a bill Governor Baker signed into law in 2016, Massachusetts is authorized to procure up to 1600MW of offshore wind energy through public solicitation. The successful “83C” procurement held in 2017 resulted in the award of a long-term contract to our client Vineyard Wind for an 800MW project, now underway. At the Forum, Governor Baker confirmed that the Administration intends to announce the second procurement for the remaining 800MW in June as anticipated.
With projects now under development, stakeholders are working together to solve industry problems and identify new opportunities. At a panel held earlier that morning, Rachel Pachter, the Vice President of Permitting Affairs at Vineyard Wind, discussed the complexities of the permitting process and praised local environmental organizations for coming to the table to develop a smart and practical plan to mitigate the impact of offshore wind development on marine mammals. She also stressed that Vineyard Wind and others continue to commit time and resources to advancing similar collaborations with local fishermen. The Governor applauded such efforts as a key step in the development of this new market. According to Governor Baker, such strategies together with the pursuit of new opportunities like energy storage and continued solicitation for capacity can ensure that Massachusetts continues to be at the forefront of offshore wind in the United States.