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R.I. utility request yields single bid for offshore wind power

The sole bidder, Revolution Wind 2 — an 884-megawatt proposal from wind power developer Ørsted and utility Eversource that would be south of Martha’s Vineyard — is far from a done deal

The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands in the water off Block Island, Rhode Island, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016.Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s major electricity utility received only one bid in its effort to buy up to 1,000 megawatts of power, the company announced Friday.

Rhode Island Energy said an 884-megawatt proposal called Revolution Wind 2, a joint venture of wind power developer Ørsted and utility Eversource, was the sole entity to respond to its request for proposals.

“Although we had hoped to see more developers put forward additional proposals within this appeal, we also know there are a multitude of factors at play right now. As we move forward, our evaluation will consider future energy affordability and how this proposal meets the requirements of both the RFP and state law,” Dave Bonenberger, the president of Rhode Island Energy, said in a news release.


Even as the sole bidder, Revolution Wind 2 — which would be south of Martha’s Vineyard — is far from a done deal. Rhode Island Energy still has to negotiate a contract (it’s not clear what price the utility would pay for the power the project generates). If a contract is hammered out, the proposal would go through the Public Utilities Commission. And the whole project would also need regulatory approval from state and federal regulators.

“Our objective is to advance the clean energy transition while keeping energy affordable and reliable for our customers,” Bonenberger said. “This is the lens through which we will evaluate the proposal.”

Rhode Island Energy, consulting with state regulators, had solicited ideas under a law Governor Dan McKee signed last year seeking more offshore wind power for the state’s energy needs. McKee has also signed a law requiring the state’s electricity be offset by renewable energy by 2033 and the Act on Climate, which sets binding climate reduction targets.

Revolution Wind 2, generating enough to power 500,000 Rhode Island homes, would go in a federal lease area near Revolution Wind. The original Revolution Wind, also an Ørsted and Eversource proposal, would bring 400 megawatts to Rhode Island and 304 to Connecticut.


Revolution Wind 2, a new proposal from Ørsted and Eversource, would be within the same lease area south of Martha’s Vineyard where the same partnership had proposed a wind project called Bay State Wind. If approved, Revolution Wind 2 would be within the blue zone marked as OCS-A-0500. The original Revolution Wind would be within the light green zone marked OCS-A 0486.Graphic courtesy of Coastal Resources Management Council

Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.