Backbone for New England Offshore Wind Farms “Massachusetts Ocean Grid” Takes Shape

 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.


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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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