On Tuesday February 13, Anbaric Development Partners (ADP) announced that it had gained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the right to develop a shared transmission system, which it says will enable Massachusetts to fully harness the potential of offshore wind power.
The FERC decision grants authority to solicit customers and sell transmission rights to a 2,000 to 2,400 megawatt offshore wind transmission system in southern New England called the “Massachusetts Ocean Grid.”
FERC’s approval of the application allows ADP to offer its backbone transmission system to offshore wind developers that currently hold federal leases as well as future lease holders who are likely to emerge.
“We fundamentally believe that the separation of transmission and generation is important, that you need to build out the backbone system to realize the full potential of the resource,” said Steve Conant, a partner and member of the transmission team with ADP. Conant added that the company is starting with Massachusetts but is also eyeing New York and New Jersey as other potential offshore wind transmission backbone opportunities.
The Massachusetts Ocean Grid will provide a common offshore interconnection point for multiple wind developers, the company explained in a press release, so that each individual developer doesn’t have to build its own individual generator lead.
Conant said this is how it is done in Europe, with offshore wind farms in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium linked to an independent transmission line.
“Right now, you are seeing the benefits of the EU system where you are getting zero-subsidy bids put in and those zero-subsidy bids are because the bulk transmission to get those resources to shore [is not a burden] put on the generators,” he said.
The next step for ADP is to determine if there is interest from U.S. offshore wind developers to use its line, said Conant.
“I think that our finding from FERC is helpful and encourages them to bid into that,” he said.
The company anticipates that the first leg of the Massachusetts Ocean Grid could be in place by December 2021 with the full system operating by 2025.
Lead image: Middelgrunden wind farmPhoto by Kim Hansen. Postprocessing (crop, rotation, color adjustment, dust spot removal and noise reduction) by Richard Bartz and Kim Hansen. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL , via Wikimedia Commons.