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DONG, US developer partner on offshore wind project

Located 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Bay State Wind could generate up to 2GW once complete in the early 2020s.

Dutch offshore wind developer DONG Energy has partnered with Boston-headquartered Eversource Energy to jointly construct a wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Eversource, an energy provider to states in the northeastern US, has acquired a 50 percent stake in Bay State Wind, a DONG-owned holding company with rights to develop a 300 square mile area of ocean 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.

The proposed offshore wind farm would be located 15 to 25 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and is large enough to generate up to 2GW of electricity, enough to power 1 million Massachusetts homes. If the project stays on schedule, DONG said it expects power to first be delivered in the early 2020s.

Thomas Brostrøm, general manager of DONG’s US wind division, said, “New England’s water depths and wind speeds are similar to those in Europe and provide attractive conditions.”

DONG said in a statement it will use its “market leading expertise,” gained by building some of Europe’s largest offshore wind projects, to lead development and construction of the project’s offshore infrastructure, and Eversource will manage the construction of onshore transmission assets.

DONG won rights to develop this area in a lease auction held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), another big player in Europe’s offshore wind industry, holds rights to develop an offshore wind farm in the area that will likely generate 300MW to 500MW.

Massachusetts is holding a tender next year to sign long-term power offtake agreements.

In August, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation requiring utilities to generate 1.6GW of electricity from offshore wind farms within a decade. The same month, energy developer Deepwater Wind christened the US’s first offshore wind project, the 30MW Block Island project, near Rhode Island.

BOEM is conducting surveys and holding lease auctions for various sites along the east coast that could someday be used for turbine development. It has also issued a request for interest in a 68,000 acre lease area off the coast of California.