Offshore wind bidders identify Brayton Point benefits/The Herald News
Here's a perfect example of a direct migration from fossil fuel to renewables. It will be a monumental day this old coal plant goes on line with locally produced, clean energy powered by new wind turbines.
SOMERSET — Two of the three energy entities submitting offshore wind proposals to state officials at Wednesday’s deadline would plug into the electric grid void at Brayton Point that shut down last spring.
Both Deep Water Wind and Bay State Wind officials said shortly after the submissions that their alternative energy projects would tap into existing transmission lines that powered 1,500 megawatts of electricity for decades at the fossil fuel power plant on Mount Hope Bay in Somerset.
That does not mean either of these joint ventures with utilities — Deepwater with National Grid and Bay State Wind as a partnership of Orsted of Denmark (formerly DONG Energy) and Eversource — would supplant Brayton Point as a re-use.
Both would use a fraction of the 300 acres while negotiating with the new owners for rights of way in order to build equipment, they said on the eve of a St. Louis firm that redevelops environmentally distressed industrial properties acquiring Brayton Point by next month.
Deepwater Wind has issued a two-part bid that included an initial 144- to 288-megawatt transmission system from offshore wind farms, called Revolution Wind, it submitted in July under the state’s more open-ended alternative energy solicitation.
Wednesday’s submissions for 400- and 800-megawatt offshore wind projects is a way Deepwater would create a corridor from the wind farms’ leased lands south of Martha’s Vineyard to potentially use the full 1,600 megawatts the new legislation permits in the next 10 years, said Matthew Morrissey, its Massachusetts vice president.
An electrical component at Brayton Point would enable energy delivery at peak demands.
Morrissey said that under their projects, Somerset stands to benefit municipally and through business prospects. Deepwater would pay the town in power or taxes for the right to connect into the electrical grid at this existing source.
Both Deepwater and Bay State Wind submitted last year interconnect applications to grid operator ISO-New England that determined electrical upgrades would not be needed, one official said.
Among the types of local businesses and trades that stand to benefit are electrical, welding, painting and supply companies and workers, Morrissey said.
He said specific revenue benefits for Somerset have not been defined by transmission line connections at Brayton Point. “It will depend on what the private developer wants to do,” he said of Commercial Development Co. of St. Louis, prepared to close its deal by year’s end with current owner Dynegy Inc.
In a letter, state Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, speaker pro tempore, and state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, majority whip, sent a week ago to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, they supported Deepwater’s Revolution Wind project submitted in July.
“With the recent closing of Brayton Point and the imminent closing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant (in 2019), nearly 2,500 reliable megawatts of energy will no longer be available to the SouthCoast,” they wrote.
They said the initial project competing with bids that will be awarded in January, coupled with Wednesday’s solely for offshore wind, there would be “far greater opportunities” for supply-chain business competition and to lower ratepayer costs.
Haddad emphasized competition for offshore wind energy projects gearing up in New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
“It sends a message that Massachusetts is ready to go,” Haddad said, praising Deepwater’s bid five months ago with other bidders that included hydro, solar and other energy types.
Among two proposals Bay State Wind issued Wednesday are a huge 55-megawatt battery storage system and a transmission substation they would build on site and National Grid would operate, said Orsted President Thomas Brostrom and Eversource Vice President of Business Development Michael Ausere.
Similar to the other proposal, increasing the storage would ensure peak power availability for a project Bay State Wind says would provide 500,000 homes in the state with power, and electrical storage adding another 50,000, Ausere said.
He and Brostrom indicated it would bring 50 to 60 construction jobs for up to two years. That compares with 1,200 new construction jobs for its offshore wind construction projects and nearly 10 times more direct and indirect jobs in the long term.
Because of Fall River’s proximity to Brayton Point, they have identified assembly of foundation transition parts for the huge windmills being done at city sites they’re exploring.
Both the Bay State Wind and Deepwater officials said they’re seeking alternative sites in case they don’t reach agreement with CDC, the prospective Brayton Point new owner.
“What Brayton Point offers is truly unique,” Morrissey said.
He listed its 1,500-megawatt transmission line capacity that’s already in place and it being an industrial site accessible across a modest water distance to the leased land for the offshore wind industry.
Vineyard Wind was the third bidder. It did not identify use of Brayton Point.