HARTFORD, CT — Park City Wind and its developer, Vineyard Wind, won over state officials and were awarded an opportunity to develop 804 megawatts of offshore wind in Bridgeport.
The award announced Thursday follows passage of a new law that allows the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to purchase up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind.
“The selection of this project, which will provide the equivalent of 14% of the state’s electricity supply, represents the largest purchase of renewable energy in Connecticut’s history,” the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said in a statement. “It will more than double the amount of new, zero-carbon renewable energy procured by DEEP to date.”
The state needed to award the contract by the end of the year to capture lower pricing as a result of federal tax incentives set to expire.
Vineyard Wind, which is also developing offshore wind in Massachusetts, beat out two other bidders in Connecticut. Eversource Energy and Ørsted, the integrated energy company based in Fredericia, Denmark, and Mayflower Wind, backed by Shell and EDP Renewables North America.
Eversource and Ørsted have already committed to investing $57 million in upgrades to New London State Pier to accommodate the industry and create a world-class offshore wind staging hub in Connecticut.
The state said it selected the Park City Wind project Thursday because it was offered at a price lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America. When it comes online in 2025, the project will enable Connecticut to avoid emitting more than 25 million short tons of carbon dioxide while improving electric grid reliability in cold winter periods, a critical feature that will speed Connecticut’s transition away from reliance on natural gas power plants.
The project also will boost economic development in Bridgeport.
Vineyard Wind estimates 2,800 direct, full-time employment years will be created in Connecticut through the project. At least 100 of those jobs would remain after the construction phase.
The project also includes an estimated $890 million in direct economic development in Connecticut, including Bridgeport Harbor and the local supply chain.
“Today’s announcement takes Connecticut one step closer to being the epicenter of the new offshore wind industry, with thriving ports in both Bridgeport and New London,” Lars Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind, said. “We look forward to building on the work already underway with a network of project partners, local officials, the maritime community, other developers, and all stakeholders involved to make Connecticut a hub for the offshore wind industry in the United States for decades to come.”
The announcement was applauded by environmental groups like the Sierra Club.
“This is a huge step in the right direction for Connecticut, but we can’t stop here,” said Samantha Dynowski, Connecticut state director for the Sierra Club. “Governor Lamont must take equally strong action to end fossil fuel expansion.”
She was referring to a 650-megawatt natural gas power plant project in Killingly.
“Right now, the 650-megawatt Killingly gas plant is still trying to stay afloat, which will emit carbon and methane into the atmosphere for the lifespan of the plant,” Dynowski said. “Governor Lamont needs to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure and fully commit our state to renewable development like the 804-megawatt offshore wind project announced today.”
DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said the state is aiming for a zero-carbon future.
“The climate crisis is no longer a future problem, and the time for action is now,” Dykes said. “The selection of this project – the largest renewable purchase in Connecticut history – demonstrates that a zero-carbon electric future is attainable in a relatively short period of time. By leveraging competition, DEEP is securing the best value for ratepayers as we advance climate solutions and grow clean energy jobs here in our state.”
Lamont also applauded the award.
“Connecticut is diversifying its offshore wind portfolio with this latest procurement selection, which sets up Connecticut as a regional leader in the creation of a thriving industry that will bring tangible benefits for our state and the entire region,” Lamont said.