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Partnership proposes pairing offshore wind with hydroelectric pumped storage

Partnership proposes pairing offshore wind with hydroelectric pumped storage

New Bedford, Mass. — Deepwater Wind will propose to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts an offshore wind solution that, for the first time, will allow a utility-scale renewable energy project to replace the retiring fossil fuel-fired power plants closing across the region. Deepwater Wind – America’s leading offshore wind developer – tomorrow will submit its response to Massachusetts’ 83C offshore wind solicitation with its Revolution Wind offshore wind farm, paired with a first-of-its-kind offshore transmission backbone developed in partnership with National Grid.

Revolution Wind will also be capable of delivering clean energy to Massachusetts utilities when it’s needed most, during peak hours of demand on the regional electric grid. A partnership with FirstLight Power, using its Northfield Mountain hydroelectric pumped storage in Northfield, Mass., makes this peak power offering possible.

“We are proposing a next generation renewable energy project. It’s the first of its kind in the world, and that’s why we call it Revolution Wind,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said. “Our offshore wind solution can replace power plants of prior generations that are now retiring. Offshore wind produces a massive amount of clean energy and we can now deliver that power even when the wind is not blowing. Plus, building an offshore transmission backbone that multiple offshore wind projects can connect to over the coming years means we’re building a smart system that won’t duplicate costs from multiple projects.”

Deepwater Wind previously proposed an initial 144 megawatt phase of Revolution Wind under the state’s earlier 83D solicitation; decisions on those bids are expected next month.

Under Deepwater Wind’s 83C proposal to be submitted tomorrow, Revolution Wind could be built at various sizes up to 400 MW in its first phase.

Meeting peak energy demands

Deepwater Wind is proposing an innovative feature for Revolution Wind, enabling its energy delivery to be scheduled to meet peak energy demands. By partnering with the storage capability of the largest hydroelectric pumped storage facility in New England – the Northfield Mountain pumped-hydroelectric station operated by FirstLight Power Resources, a hydroelectric and energy storage company – offshore wind can act like a baseload resource.

The region is faced with the challenge of replacing energy generation from aging, retiring fossil-fuel plants. Revolution Wind’s offshore wind – storage pairing will help the Commonwealth meet its energy demands by storing and dispatching offshore energy when and where it’s needed most. No new transmission lines are needed for this element of Revolution Wind.

“We’re very excited to collaborate with Deepwater Wind and National Grid to help Massachusetts reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach its environmental goals,” said John Shue, FirstLight Power Resources’ senior executive. “Northfield Mountain, New England’s largest source of green energy storage, can store wind energy when demand is at its lowest and deliver it back to the Commonwealth’s consumers when it’s needed most. Pairing clean energy storage at Northfield Mountain with offshore wind energy will ensure that the people of Massachusetts capture the greatest environmental benefit they can, in the most efficient manner possible.”

Expandable transmission system

Deepwater Wind is partnering with National Grid Ventures on developing an offshore transmission network that supports not just Revolution Wind, but also future offshore wind farms, even if they’re built by our competitors.

The first phase of this system will be the transmission connection between Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind offshore wind farm to the Massachusetts electric grid – laying the groundwork for a network connecting future offshore wind farms powering the Commonwealth.

This transmission network would be scalable up to 1,600 MW to accommodate the Commonwealth’s growing offshore wind industry. If the Revolution Wind proposal is selected by the state’s utilities, Deepwater Wind commits to allowing other developers to use this network to connect their wind farms to the mainland grid.

This cooperation is in the best interest of Massachusetts electric customers because it will reduce the amount of electrical infrastructure needed to support the state’s 1,600 MW offshore wind goal. Instead of each subsequent developer building its own standalone cable network, other offshore wind companies could use expandable infrastructure already installed for Revolution Wind, reducing project costs and saving ratepayers money.

“Offshore wind is rapidly becoming a preferred renewable energy resource. Our partnership with Deepwater Wind underscores our commitment to advance a clean energy transition, which will benefit customers, local communities and the environment for generations to come in Massachusetts,” said Will Hazelip, Vice President, US Transmission, National Grid Ventures.

Deepwater Wind and National Grid previously partnered on the sea2shore cable connecting Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm to the Rhode Island mainland grid. Using a similar approach to the successful sea2shore cable, Deepwater Wind will build this new submarine transmission connection between Revolution Wind to a Brayton Point substation in Somerset, Mass. National Grid has the right to purchase the completed transmission connection from Deepwater Wind.

The Revolution Wind project will be built in Deepwater Wind’s federal lease site southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. If approved, local construction work on Revolution Wind would begin in 2022, with the project in operations in 2023. Survey work is already underway at Deepwater Wind’s lease area.

Utilities and state regulators are expected to make decisions in January 2018 for the 83D solicitation, and again in April 2018 for this 83C solicitation. In its 83C bid, Deepwater Wind also proposed the required 400 MW configuration of the Revolution Wind proposal, as well as a smaller 200 MW conforming project.