MA - Bids For Next Offshore Wind Project In Mass. Will Have Greater Focus on Equity
As the Baker administration prepares to open the bidding process for a third offshore wind project, it’s announcing some big changes — and some new requirements — for companies that want to develop a wind farm off the Massachusetts coast: bigger projects and a greater focus on diversity and equity.
Unlike the previous two rounds, where the state was soliciting projects up to 800 megawatts — enough to power about 400,000 homes — this third round will let companies bid on projects up to 1600 megawatts.
Larger bids may help companies "capture efficiencies related to transmission cabling and use of on-shore transmission interconnection points,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides during a press conference on Thursday.
She added that the state has no preference for the size of the project, and that it’s open to bids between 200-1600 megawatts. However, meeting the state's decarbonization goals will require about 15 gigawatts (or 15,000 megawatts) of offshore wind power by 2050.
Bids for this next round will also include an emphasis on environmental justice and diversity, equity and inclusion, something environmental advocates have been pushing for. The state will require developers to spell out how they will hire and train a diverse workforce, and how they’ll build a supply chain that prioritizes underserved communities.
These plans “will outline bidders’ commitment to promoting employment, procurement and contracting opportunities for minority, women, veterans, LGBT and persons with disabilities,” Theoharides said, and must include “a strategy plan to track and report on the status of environmental justice impacts, engagement and employment, including training, recruitment and hiring opportunities.”