Utilities seek Massachusetts approval for six wind contracts

Several utilities recently filed separately with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for approval of power purchase agreements with the developers of six wind projects.

The PPAs cover the long-term procurement of renewable energy and renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the six individual wind projects. The six projects were jointly selected for long-term contracts by Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light d/b/a Unitil, National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric (collectively called the “Distribution Companies”) from competitive bids received under a joint solicitation.

The Distribution Companies conducted this competitive solicitation jointly, including: the joint issuance of a single request for proposals; joint evaluation and scoring of the bids received; joint selection of the winning bids; and the joint negotiation of final contracts.

The six wind projects, the developing and counterparty companies, the output MW ratings, the PPA terms and the proposed commercial online dates are:

  • Wild Meadows, Iberdrola Renewables, 75.9 MW, 15-year PPA term, 12/31/2016;
  • Fletcher Mountain, Iberdrola Renewables, 97.1 MW, 15-year PPA, 12/31/2016;
  • Oakfield Wind, First Wind and project company Evergreen Wind Power II LLC, 147.6 MW, 15-year PPA, 12/31/2015;
  • Bingham Wind, First Wind and project company Blue Sky West LLC, 186 MW, 15-year PPA, 12/31/2016;
  • Passamaquoddy Wind, Exergy Development Group and project company Passamaquoddy Wind LLC, 38.2 MW, 15-year PPA, 11/30/2015;
  • Peskotmuhkati Wind, Exergy Development Group and Peskotmuhkati Wind LLC, 20 MW, 20-year PPA, 11/30/2014.

Five of the six are located in Maine. Passamaquoddy Wind and Peskotmuhkati Wind are both located in Washington County, Maine. Oakfield Wind is in Oakfield, Maine. Bingham Wind is in Bingham, Maine. Fletcher Mountain is in Somerset County, Maine. And Wild Meadows in in Alexandria and Grafton, N.H.

Jeffery Waltman, Manager, Planning and Power Supply for Massachusetts regulated operating companies of Northeast Utilities, which includes NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric, said in Sept. 20 supporting testimony: “The amount of new capacity provided by these facilities, totaling some 565 MW, will supplement the region’s base of installed capacity and thereby increase the supply reserve margins. Wind-powered generation is variable in proportion to the wind speed, but on average can be relied upon to increase reserve margins. ISO-NE recognizes the capacity value of wind based on its production during both summer and winter periods. Because these projects will be price takers in the ISO-NE market, their output will be placed at the bottom of the bid stack in the ISO-NE  dispatch. Accordingly, the wind output will displace the marginal production unit, which is likely to be either gas or oil, thereby increasing the reserve margins of those units. In addition, since wind power is a local resource, it increases the region’s fuel diversity away from natural gas and oil, both of which are entirely imported into the region.”

He said the prices under all of these PPAs is much less than previously forecasted:

  • Passamaquoddy Wind is below forecasted market prices by $96m over the life of the 15 year contract.
  • Peskotmuhkati Wind is less than forecasted market prices by $61m over the life of the 20 year contract.
  • Oakfield Wind is less than forecasted market prices by $292m over the life of the 15 year contract.
  • Bingham Wind is less than forecasted market prices by $390m over the life of the 15 year contract.
  • Fletcher Mountain is less than forecasted market prices by $206m over the life of the 15 year contract.
  • Wild Meadows is less than forecasted market prices by $171m over the life of the 15 year contract.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.