Eversource Energy, the largest transmitter and distributor of electricity in New England, has entered into a partnership with DONG Energy, the largest operator of wind farms in the world and one of the developers poised to build offshore 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. “DONG will be responsible for the turbines and the underwater transmission,” said Michael Durand, an Eversource spokesman, “and we will be responsible for transmission on land.” The two companies will decide together where the underwater transmission cables will come ashore.
“Offshore wind has great potential in the U.S., and I am very pleased that we are entering into a strategic partnership with Eversource to develop our first project in New England,” said Samuel Leupold, executive vice president and CEO of DONG Energy Wind Power in a release from Eversource. “Offshore wind will add to the diversity, and the security, of Massachusetts’ energy mix.”
Mr. Durand said that there is essentially a firewall between the transmission and distribution portions of Eversource. While the agreement between the transmission sector of Eversource and DONG is in place, the distribution of the power generated at the offshore turbine farm will be part of a competitive bidding process. In its press release, Eversource noted that in August 2016, Massachusetts formally adopted a comprehensive energy bill that includes a first-of-its-kind mandate that state utilities purchase 1,600 MW of offshore wind power by 2027. The first state-led procurement process will begin in June 2017. Mr. Durand said that commencement of the transmission-line project would be contingent on Eversource’s success in the bidding process.