• The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts is not a viable proposal, currently. The project failed to meet financial milestones and the PPAs were cancelled. Cape Wind,  at 468 MW, was the largest offshore wind project to be pusued in the U.S. Cape Wind had secured all of its federal and state permits, in addition to a 33-year commercial lease from the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), which was signed on October 6, 2010.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved on November 22, 2010 the 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between National Grid and Cape Wind for 50% of the project’s output.  On April 4, 2012, the Massachusetts DPU approved the merger of NSTAR and Northeast Utilities, which included the Department of Energy Resources' (DOER) settlement that NSTAR Electric enter into a 15-year PPA for 27.5% of Cape Wind's total capacity.  DPU found that the project would lower regional energy costs through price suppression and that it has unique attributes that would help the state achieve its RPS goals and greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved Cape Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP), with modifications, on April 20, 2011.  To qualify for the ITC, which included “beginning construction” by the end of 2013, Cape Wind signed a binding contract with Siemens for the construction and delivery of its 3.6 MW turbines. Project financing came close to completion with both public and private lenders—three banks have committed over $400 million to the project; EKF, the Danish Export bank has committed $600 million; PensionDanmark has invested $200 in mezzanine debt; and US DOE has made a conditional loan guarantee for $150 million. In December, 2017, Cape Wind notified BOEM that it was ceasing development of the project and filing to terminate its 2010 offshore wind development lease.

  • Deepwater Wind was the winner of BOEM’s first competitive lease sale for renewable energy. BOEM auctioned two leases in the MA/RI Wind Energy Area, totaling 164,750 acres. Deepwater plans to develop Deepwater ONE, a 150-200 turbine project with an approximate nameplate capacity of 900-1200 MW. In March 2014, Deepwater proposed supplying more than 200MW to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) by 2018; the proposal was submitted in response to a LIPA request for proposal for 280 MW of renewable peaking power.

Policy, Planning, & Regulations

  • Energy & Climate Change Planning:  The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 establishes state goals to achieve greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions of between 10-25% below statewide 1990 GHG emissions levels by 2020, and 80% below statewide 1990 GHG emission levels by 2050.
  • Energy Demand/Incentives:  Massachusetts’ renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS)(link is external), which was updated in 2011, requires all retail electricity suppliers to supply 15% of kilowatt-hour (kWh) sales from eligible renewable resources by 2020.  The Green Communities Act(link is external) of 2008 requires that electric distribution companies solicit cost-effective,  long-term contracts (defined as 10-15 years) for renewable energy two times between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014, and that the contracts secure at least seven percent of their power from eligible renewable resources.  The Act divided the RPS obligation into two compliance Classes—Class I and Class II, with different compliance percentages and different generation-type qualifications.  Offshore wind qualifies as a Class I resource.
  • Coastal & Ocean Management Planning:  The Massachusetts Oceans Act(link is external) of 2008 required the development of a first-in-the-nation comprehensive management plan for Massachusetts’s state waters, allowing for the development of offshore wind as part of a plan that balances new and traditional uses with preservation of natural resources.  The Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan—draft released in September 2014—is the state’s management framework for ocean-based development. The relevant agencies reviewing proposed ocean projects include the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Fish and Game’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species
  • Regional Offshore Wind Initiatives: Rhode Island and Massachusetts signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in July 2010 to pledge their commitment to coordinate and collaborate in the permitting and development of offshore wind energy projects in the area of mutual interest (AMI) in Rhode Island Sound.  BOEM identified a MA/RI Wind Energy Area and auctioned two leases, totaling 164, 750 acres.  Deepwater Wind won the competitive auction and plans to develop Deepwater ONE, a 150-200 turbine project with a nameplate capacity of 900-1200 MW.  Deepwater has submitted a proposal for supplying 280 MW to the Long Island Power Authority by 2018.  
  • Regional Ocean Management Planning:  Massachusetts is a member of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC).
  • Regional Electricity Transmission Planning:  Massachusetts’s electricity transmission is coordinated by the Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE) regional power grid, which is a member of the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC).

Supporting & Complementary Assets/Infrastructure

  • Testing Facilities:  The Massachusetts Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC) in Charlestown is the first commercial large blade test facility in the nation, and the largest facility of its kind in the world.   It is capable of offering a full suite of certification tests for turbine blades up to 90 meters in length, with the assistance of three test stands and a 100-ton overhead bridge crane.  Funding to develop the center came from state and federal sources, including a 2007 competitive $2 million National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) grant, $24.7 million in funding from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and $13.2 million in grants and loans from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). 
  • WindSTAR is an NSF-funded industry/university cooperative research center for wind energy, science, technology, and research.  A collaboration between UMass Lowell and the University of Texas at Dallas, the center aims to bring together university and industry researchers to conduct basic and applied research on wind turbines.  The partnership also trains students and serves as a networking platform. 
  • Supply Chain:  MassCEC and the City of New Bedford are working to develop the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which would be the first facility in the US built specifically to support the assembly, construction, and deployment of offshore wind projects.  The terminal project would include building a bulkhead capable of providing berthing space for vessels delivering offshore wind components and for jack-up barges that would serve as construction vessels.  In addition, the terminal would have space for laydown storage and assembly of turbines and blades. 

Economic Fundamentals

  • Population:  6.8 million (2.1% of US, 2016)¹
  • Population change (2010-2016):  4.0%²
  • Civilian labor force:  3.7 million (2.3% of US, 2017)¹
  • Median hourly wage (all occupations):  $22.45 (2016)³
  • State corporate income tax rate:  8.00% (2017)⁴
  • Per capita personal income:  $65,137 (3rd in US, 2016)¹
  • Residential electricity prices:  20.03 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Commercial electricity prices:  15.01 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Industrial electricity prices:  13.09 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Total energy production: 110 trillion Btu (0.1% of US, 2015)¹
  • Net electricity generation:  2,690 thousand MWh (0.7% of US, 2015)¹
  • Total energy consumption per capita:  213 million Btu (43rd in US, 2015)¹
  • Carbon dioxide emissions:  13,422 thousand metric tons (0.7% of US, 2015)¹
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions:  5 thousand metric tons (0.2% of US, 2015)¹
  • Nitrogen dioxide emissions: 11 thousand metric tons (0.6% of US, 2015)¹
  • Total estimated technical offshore wind potential generation:  1,053,166 (14.6% of US, 2016)⁵

References:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA)¹; U.S. Census Bureau²; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)³; Tax Foundation; and, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)