Rhode Island Energy issues RFP for 600 to 1,000 MW of offshore wind

Published on October 18, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Rhode Island Energy issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 600 to 1,000 MW of offshore wind.

This procurement has the potential to meet at least 30 percent of Rhode Island’s estimated 2030 electricity demand and power approximately 340,000 homes each year.  When combined with the offshore wind farm that is currently off the coast of Block Island and the proposed Revolution Wind project, these projects could provide 70 percent of the state’s estimated 2030 electricity demand.

“We promised that we would lead when it came to helping Rhode Island meet its clean energy goals, and achieving this latest milestone is proof of our commitment,” Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy, said. “This procurement is critical to meeting the state’s 100% renewable generation goal by the 2033 target and accelerating growth in the local clean energy economy.”

Rhode Island Energy filed a draft RFP with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) on Sept. 6, with 30 days of public comment. The final RFP takes into consideration many of the comments offered by various stakeholders.

Rhode Island Energy, which provides electricity and natural gas to over 770,000 customers in the state, is seeking bids from potential developers to enter into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for energy from newly developed offshore wind projects. The long-term contract durations would be between 15 and 20 years.

The plan for additional wind stems from legislation signed into law this past July by Gov. Dan McKee that seeks to expand Rhode Island’s offshore wind energy resources. The new law requires a market-competitive procurement for between 600 and 1,000 megawatts of newly developed offshore wind capacity.

“Last month, I stood with Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and local leaders to break ground on the South Quay Marine Terminal project in East Providence,” McKee said. “When combined with the enhancements of ProvPort, these infrastructure investments greatly expand our offshore wind staging capabilities, bringing jobs and economic opportunity to Rhode Island. Continuing Rhode Island’s national leadership in the offshore wind industry, today we are announcing the request for proposals for our third major offshore wind project, which will contribute to our state’s clean energy future.”

Bids will be received through Feb. 1, 2023, with any winning bidder(s) announced in early August 2023. Any PPAs agreed to must be approved by the RIPUC.