Avangrid partners with CIP for Massachusetts offshore wind

The joint venture combines two of Europe’s most experienced offshore wind developers with an interest in developing projects in the US.

Avangrid Renewables has acquired a 50 percent stake in an offshore wind developer owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners that is planning a project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Avangrid, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, and CIP now have an equal interest in Vineyard Wind, which has leasing rights to build a project 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The deal combines the financial backing and expertise of two of Europe’s most experienced offshore wind developers with an interest in developing projects in the nascent US market.

Lars Thaaning Pedersen, chief executive of Copenhagen Offshore Partners, CIP’s offshore wind development company, said this is a “major strategic partnership” that gives Vineyard Wind a “significant advantage in building Massachusetts’ first offshore wind project”.

“Our equal partnership in this effort demonstrates the strong commitment we’ve made to execute our growth strategy and expand our wind portfolio across the US,” Avangrid chief executive James Torgerson added.

CIP has developed or has interests in some of Europe’s largest offshore wind projects, including the 402MW Veja Mate off the coast of Germany and the 588MW Beatrice project off the coast of Scotland.

However, the US lags far behind Europe in offshore wind development. While Europe now has 12GW in operation, the first operational project in US waters – a 30MW project near Block Island, Rhode Island – only came online last fall.

Last August, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a mandate for the state to develop 1.6GW of offshore wind in a little over 10 years, the first legislation of its kind in the US. The state is planning to auction its first long-term offtake agreement for offshore wind this year.

Earlier this year, Avangrid won the leasing rights to another offshore wind development site, a 122,000-acre area off the coast of North Carolina.