Avangrid buys stake in Massachusetts offshore wind project

Avangrid Renewables and Vineyard Wind, formed a strategic partnership to jointly develop a large-scale wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Avangrid Renewables is acquiring a 50 percent ownership interest in Vineyard Wind, the offshore wind energy developer that is part of the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) portfolio.

Avangrid Renewables is a unit of Avangrid Inc. Iberdrola S.A. owns 81.5 percent of the outstanding shares of Avangrid common stock.

The partnership of the two companies will bring offshore wind power expertise and financial capability to Massachusetts’ initiative to build offshore wind projects.

Last summer, Massachusetts required utilities to procure 1,600 MW of clean, offshore wind energy within the next decade, setting off an intense competition among offshore wind developers in the region. When the 1,600 MW of generation capacity are completed, they will generate enough clean, homegrown energy to power the equivalent of more than 750,000 Massachusetts homes every year.

Three companies to date have acquired lease rights to build projects off the coast, including Vineyard Wind. Vineyard Wind’s project area is about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

“This is a major strategic partnership that combines Avangrid Renewables’ US onshore wind development capabilities with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Iberdrola’s European offshore wind expertise to give Vineyard Wind a significant advantage in building Massachusetts’ first offshore wind project,” said Lars Thaaning Pedersen, co-CEO of Copenhagen Offshore Partners, CIP’s offshore wind development company.

Iberdrola holds offshore wind projects under development or construction in England, Germany & France. Avangrid Renewables recently won its first offshore wind lease auction in the US off the coast of North Carolina. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners is providing investment and management for projects under construction in Germany and Scotland. Executives with extensive offshore wind experience from these European projects will now be joining Vineyard Wind’s local development team, based in New Bedford, Mass.

“This partnership allows Vineyard Wind to leverage the financial firepower that both CIP and AVANGRID can bring to bear to develop and build this project,” Pedersen added. “AVANGRID’s interest in this project demonstrates that they recognize the strength of the local team, the local support we have, and the exciting potential for offshore wind in Massachusetts.”

CIP and its executives have developed or invested in some of the biggest offshore wind projects in the world, including the 402 MW Veja Mate project off of Germany and the 588 MW Beatrice project off the coast of Scotland. CIP manages more than $4 billion in assets. It acquired Vineyard Wind in August 2016.

“Our equal partnership in this effort demonstrates the strong commitment we’ve made to execute our growth strategy and expand our wind portfolio across the US,” said James P. Torgerson, AVANGRID, CEO. “When you look at our longer term position with the Kitty Hawk off-shore lease in NC and factor in this more immediate off-shore opportunity in Massachusetts, combined with our family of company’s extensive experience and knowledge, you recognize we are well positioned to grow this sector in the US.”

Vineyard Wind plans to begin construction of its project in early 2020, to bring the economic development and clean energy benefits of offshore wind to Massachusetts as soon as possible. Vineyard Wind has also worked to establish long-term relationships and partnerships with the local community that will provide benefit to the project.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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