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Renewable energy investment nears approval in CT

Connecticut ratepayers are one step closer to funding the state’s largest ever purchase of renewable electricity, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that is expected to provide 14% of Connecticut’s electricity once it’s completed in 2025.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) granted initial approval late last week to key contracts between state utility companies Eversource and Avangrid and the owners of the proposed 804-megawatt Park City Wind project, which would be located 23 miles off the coast of Massachusetts and provide enough energy to power 400,000 homes.

The 20-year power purchase agreements could be worth around $3 billion to the developer of the project, Vineyard Wind, which is a joint venture between Avangrid’s renewables business unit and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

PURA can still modify the decision based on any exceptions it receives from involved parties in the coming days, but said it expects to issue a final decision on Aug. 14.

State environmental officials, armed with 2019 legislative permission to secure up to 2,000 megawatts worth of offshore wind, selected Park City Wind late last year in a competitive renewable energy bidding process.

While Vineyard Wind has not yet publicly revealed the price tag of Park City Wind — that information has thus far been redacted in documents filed with PURA — Avangrid executives have compared it to a similarly sized project the joint venture is developing, also off the coast of Massachusetts, that has a price tag of about $3 billion, Greentech Media reported in December.

It is not yet clear how the project will impact consumer electric bills. However, state officials said late last year that Vineyard Wind’s bid price was lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America.

Park City Wind has pledged a significant redevelopment of Bridgeport Harbor as a staging area for turbine construction and an operations and maintenance hub, and estimates the project’s overall direct economic impact to Connecticut at $890 million.

State officials have called the project a “significant step” towards meeting Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

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