ARKANSAS, Nov 02 (Future Headlines)- The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is making waves in the renewable energy sector with the issuance of a groundbreaking Request for Proposals (RFP) aimed at procuring an impressive 2 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind generation capacity. With the offshore wind solicitation launched on October 27, 2023, and the submission deadline set for January 31, 2024, Connecticut is making a substantial push toward expanding its offshore wind energy portfolio.

This ambitious RFP introduces novel provisions designed to bolster the development of offshore wind capacity and foster innovation. It reflects Connecticut’s commitment to advancing clean energy goals, embracing multi-state cooperation, and implementing forward-thinking pricing strategies to ensure sustainable growth.

Earlier this year, it was anticipated that Connecticut would be offering up to 1.196 GW of total offshore wind capacity in the upcoming solicitation round. However, the state has now taken a bold step by seeking 2 GW of offshore wind generation capacity, indicating its resolute commitment to renewable energy expansion. The increased capacity has been met with enthusiasm, as it aligns with Connecticut’s dedication to accelerating the transition to clean energy sources.

Connecticut is not operating in isolation when it comes to offshore wind energy. The state has entered into a groundbreaking multi-state procurement agreement alongside Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This collaborative effort aims to harness the collective strength of these states to accelerate the adoption of offshore wind energy.

Under this multi-state agreement, the total potential offshore wind capacity being sought by the three states has now surged from 6 GW to an impressive 6.8 GW. Each state’s contribution to this substantial capacity procurement demonstrates their united commitment to embracing clean and sustainable energy solutions.

Connecticut’s forward-looking RFP introduces an innovative pricing provision known as the “indexed pricing option.” This approach allows the adjustment of project prices to accommodate changes in specific macroeconomic factors and commodities. Indexed pricing is designed to provide more stability to projects and ensure developers are not unduly impacted by market fluctuations, including inflation.

With this indexed pricing mechanism, the final project price can be adjusted by a maximum of 15% after the bid due date but before reaching financial close. This forward-thinking approach is aimed at enhancing the financial predictability of offshore wind projects and providing a balance between the interests of developers and consumers.

Connecticut’s commitment to sustainable offshore wind development is underscored by robust requirements for environmental and fisheries mitigation plans. These requirements, informed by recommendations from the state’s Commission on Environmental Standards, demand that selected bidders contribute to critical environmental and fisheries protection initiatives.

Under the stipulations of the RFP, successful bidders are mandated to provide substantial support, amounting to at least USD 5,000 per megawatt (MW), to various initiatives. This includes funding for regional fish and wildlife monitoring, wildlife mitigation, and fisheries mitigation. The environmental and fisheries mitigation plans ensure that offshore wind projects in Connecticut not only provide renewable energy but also foster responsible coexistence with the local ecosystem.

Connecticut is poised to usher in a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. The state is set to receive its first electricity generated by offshore wind turbines in 2025 when the Ørsted-backed Revolution Wind offshore wind farm is expected to become fully operational. With a total capacity of 704 MW, Revolution Wind will play a crucial role in the state’s renewable energy landscape and is set to provide power to Connecticut under power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed in 2018.

Furthermore, in 2019, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection selected the 804 MW Park City Wind project, developed by Avangrid, which signed PPAs with Connecticut’s utility companies. However, as recently reported, Avangrid has opted to terminate its PPAs for the Park City Wind project, intending to rebid the project in upcoming auctions.

The issuance of the RFP for 2 GW of offshore wind generation capacity is a significant milestone for Connecticut and underscores the state’s commitment to expanding its clean energy infrastructure, fostering collaboration with neighboring states, and implementing innovative pricing and mitigation measures to ensure the sustainability of offshore wind projects.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White