Offshore wind energy development far off the coast of Massachusetts could power over 77 million homes – an unmatched opportunity to produce local, clean electricity and create thousands of jobs across the Commonwealth.
Thanks to trailblazing leadership from the Massachusetts’ legislature and Governor Charlie Baker, the Commonwealth now has the strongest state offshore wind policy in the country. In 2016, Governor Baker signed legislation committing Massachusetts to power over half a million homes with offshore wind. By providing market certainty for a pipeline of offshore wind projects over the next decade, this historic step forward positions the Commonwealth to play a major role in launching America’s offshore wind industry.
- November 2020: Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved long-term contracts for Mayflower Wind’s proposed 804 MW offshore wind project at a cost-saving price. The expected total net benefit to ratepayers over the life of the contract is approximately $2.4 billion. The contract includes an additional $77.5 million committed to support responsible development of the MA offshore wind industry. Learn more.
- November 2019: The giant GE Haliade-X 12-MW offshore wind turbine arrived in Boston for testing at the MA Clean Energy Center wind test facility. Learn more.
- November 2019: Mayflower Wind was selected in the second round of offshore wind bidding by MA’s three big electric utilities to provide 804 MW of electricity to the Commonwealth — enough to power about 470,000 homes! Learn more.
- October 2019: Vineyard Wind and the Edgartown conservation commission have come to terms in a dispute over the construction of underwater cables, clearing one of the last local hurdles for the project. The settlement ensures the conservation commission can be involved in monitoring the project as construction begins and beyond. Learn more.
- September 2019: Public version of bids were submitted in response to the May 2019 offshore wind solicitation are available for viewing. The developers submitting bids were: Bay State Wind, Mayflower Wind, and Vineyard Wind. The winner(s) will be announced on November 8. Learn more.
- September 2019: Construction of the first offshore wind workforce training facility, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), is complete! The campus in Buzzards Bay is part of a broader plan by MA to establish a network of training programs that prepare workers for Vineyard Wind. Learn more.
- August 2019: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) partnered with RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to finance pilot studies for regional fisheries research and monitoring for Southern New England in relation to the MA and RI/MA wind energy areas. The Request for Proposals is now open until October 17, 2019. Learn more.
- August 2019: Five East Coast Governors, including Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Virginia sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing their support for offshore wind power. Learn more.
- July 2019: Governor Charlie Baker and the Legislature pass an amendment to temporarily eliminate the declining price cap on offshore wind. Learn more.
- June 2019: The Massachusetts Legislature enacted bi-partisan legislation authorizing the Barnstable Town Council to grant an easement for a portion of Covell’s Beach that will allow for construction of the interconnection between Vineyard Wind and the New England Power Grid and providing local community benefits. Learn more.
- May 2019: Massachusetts issued its second bid solicitation for offshore wind with bids due August 23.
- May 2019: Vineyard wind awarded contract to the Prysmian Group for the installation of a submarine power cable system which will deliver clean energy from the US’s first large-scale offshore wind facility to the New England electric grid. The contract includes provisions for hiring up to 100 workers locally, as well as strict requirements for the marine protection.
- May 2019: The Baker Administration announced $721,500 in grants to six academic institutions and labor organizations to establish workforce training and development programs. The award includes a $200,000 commitment from Vineyard Wind’s Workforce fund. Learn more.
- May 2019: Vineyard Wind began seeking technology firms or academic institutions to provide and operationalize enhanced acoustic monitoring systems that will detect the presence of Right Whales, and transmit information in real-time to project staff so that enhanced protections can be effectively implemented. Learn more.
- April 2019: Vineyard Wind announced that it will implement recommendations from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) to guide the project’s fisheries monitoring studies during construction, as well as to initiate longer term studies as part of a regional approach to fisheries studies. SMAST design of fisheries monitoring plan began in 2017. Learn more.
- February 2019: Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) determined Vineyard Wind’s 800 MW offshore wind farm was consistent with state policies. Learn more.
- January 2019: Vineyard Wind signed an agreement with NWF and our partners at Conservation Law Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council on a set of measures to protect North Atlantic right whales during construction and operation of their 800 MW project. Learn more and read agreement here.
- December 2018: The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC), the largest environmental advocacy group on the island, endorsed Vineyard Wind’s proposed 800-megawatt offshore wind farm. Learn more.
- December 2018: Developers finished 32 rounds of bidding on areas of federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts designated for offshore wind power development. Learn more.
- October 2018: The Baker Administration signed a lease agreement with Vineyard Wind to utilize the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as the primary staging and deployment location for its offshore wind project. The agreement represents a commitment to an 18-month lease at $6 million annually. Learn more.
- September 2018: BOEM hosted a public meeting to discuss feedback they received from their Call for Information and Nominations for potential offshore wind energy leasing and development in the New York Bight.
- August 2018: A letter from the MA Department of Energy Resources revealed that Vineyard Wind’s 800 MW project would provide energy at a levelized cost of 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, about 18 percent below alternatives in the market. At that price, over the course of 20 years, the project will save Massachusetts ratepayers approximately $1.4 billion. Learn more.
- July 2018: As part of a larger state energy bill, Massachusetts authorized (but did not require) the procurement of an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind power by 2035. The bill calls for the Department of Energy Resources to first investigate the necessity, benefits, and costs of such additional development. Full bill available here.
- June 2018: UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy sign “Connect4Wind” agreement for sharing resources and collaborating on the development of curriculum and programs centered on offshore wind energy. Learn more.
- May 2018: Vineyard Wind was selected to develop 800 MW of offshore wind power south of Martha’s Vineyard! The contract now needs to be approved by the Department of Public Utilities. Learn more.
- December 2017: All three lease-holding developers Vineyard Wind, Deepwater Wind, and Bay State Wind) submitted bids in response to the Baker Administration’s Request for Proposals.
- June 2017: The Baker Administration issued the final Request for Proposals, inviting developers to submit bids for the nation’s largest offshore wind power developments — enough to power more than 180,000 homes. Developers have until December 2017 to submit their proposals. Learn more.
- May 2017: The Baker Administration issued a draft Request for Proposals (RFP), indicating how last year’s offshore wind power commitment will be implemented, followed by a 2-week public comment period. A final version of the RFP has a deadline of June 30, 2017, at which point offshore wind developers will prepare their competitive proposals. Learn more.
- September 2016: All three lease-holding companies signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to use the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford as a launch pad for their projects, supporting local jobs. Learn more.
- August 2016: Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, which includes a commitment to develop at least 1,600 megawatts offshore wind power – enough to power half a million homes! Learn more.
- January 2015: DONG Energy and Offshore MW each acquired leases for areas of federal waters over 12 miles offshore that could power more than 300,000 homes. Two adjacent areas of the same size were designated for wind energy development and are available for lease. Learn more.
- July 2013: Deepwater Wind won the country’s first ever federal offshore wind lease auction, acquiring an area nine miles from the coast of Massachusetts. The company subsequently signed a landmark agreement with NWF and other environmental organizations to protect endangered whales as their projects move forward in this area. Learn more.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released a report assessing the cumulative impact of offshore wind project development in federal lease areas in June. The cumulative impact study informs the Environmental Impact Statement of Massachusetts’ 800 megawatt Vineyard Wind project, as well as the Environmental Impact Statements for all future offshore wind projects in the region. Public hearings regarding the report are underway, and comments will be accepted through July 27. Contact us to receive updates and to get involved!
Are you a U.S. resident who would like offshore wind to power the nation?
- FACT SHEET: Massachusetts Offshore Wind Power
- For maps and the latest updates on the federal offshore wind leasing and permitting process off the coast of Massachusetts, visit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management‘s Massachusetts page
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Offshore Wind webpage
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Offshore Wind webpage
- Latest Massachusetts News and Blogs
- Get Massachusetts offshore wind power updates on Facebook and Twitter