By Rich Heidorn Jr.
In an announcement rich with symbolism, transmission developer Anbaric said it will spend $650 million to build a delivery hub for offshore wind at Brayton Point, the former site of New England’s largest coal-fired plant.
Anbaric said it will spend $250 million on a 1,200-MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter to receive offshore wind power and another $400 million on 400 MW of battery storage at what it is calling the Anbaric Renewable Energy Center. The May 13 announcement by Anbaric and Commercial Development Co., the owner of the 307-acre site in Somerset, Mass., came just days after the former coal plant’s 500-foot cooling towers were imploded.
Terms of the lease between the two companies were not released, but CDC Executive Vice President Stephen Collins said the lease is “very long.”
Anbaric CEO Edward Krapels said the project is part of his company’s plan for its Massachusetts OceanGrid to bring wind power from projects off southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard to ISO-NE.
Stephen Conant, an Anbaric partner and project manager for the Brayton Point project, said construction could begin as early as 2021, depending on how soon Anbaric signs up generation to use the facilities.
Anbaric is counting in part on Massachusetts’ 2016 directive ordering Eversource, National Grid and Unitil to procure 1,600 MW of offshore wind.
Conant said his company will partner with an unnamed generator to bid for an 800-MW OSW solicitation the utilities are expected to issue later this month. But he said Anbaric is “open to working with any and all” OSW generators, including those off of Rhode Island and Connecticut.
“It’s a very attractive site,” he said, noting the 1,600-MW interconnection from the old coal plant. “It’s the best interconnection facility on the south coast” of Massachusetts.
Anbaric said it expects its project to create 300-400 construction jobs over a two-year period, with five to 10 full-time employees running the center once completed.
“It’s certainly not going to replace the number of jobs lost at the coal plant,” which employed about 250, Conant acknowledged. But he said the “real jobs are going to come from the growth of offshore wind … and well-developed infrastructure will make that happen.”
Conn. Adding 2,000 MW?
Connecticut and Rhode Island have agreed to purchase 700 MW of OSW from Eversource’s and Ørsted’s Revolution Wind project between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island.
In addition, the Connecticut House on Wednesday approved legislation that would authorize Eversource and Avangrid subsidiary United Illuminating to procure an additional 2,000 MW of offshore wind. The bill, which is headed to the state Senate, calls for the issuance of a solicitation within two weeks of passage to take advantage of expiring federal tax credits, Conant said.
But Connecticut officials have their own plans for capitalizing on their procurements, earlier this month announcing agreement on a $93 million public-private partnership to make State Pier in New London an OSW hub.
Collins said the company is “actively engaged” with about a half-dozen additional potential tenants interested in the site and its 34-foot deep port, some of them also in offshore wind or energy. “There’s an enormous amount of interest at this site,” he said. “I’ve had five meetings in the last two days.”
Bay State Wind announced a year ago it would build turbine foundations at the site if it won Massachusetts’ first 800-MW OSW solicitation, but that contract was snagged by Vineyard Wind. Collins said Vineyard Wind has talked about bringing work on the “transition piece” between the turbines’ monopole and nacelle to Brayton Point.
Anbaric has partnered with Vineyard on the Liberty Wind project in New York but was not part of its initial Massachusetts bid.
CDC purchased Brayton Point from Dynegy in early 2018 after the 1,600-MW plant, Massachusetts’ last coal generator, shut down in May 2017 after more than 50 years of operation.
Before imploding the cooling towers last month, CDC had sold much of the plant’s equipment and machinery, began demolishing fuel oil tanks and power plant buildings and conducted asbestos abatement and other environmental remediation.