New Energy for Offshore Wind Power in Massachusetts

Here in Massachusetts it’s particularly noticeable that the offshore wind power conversation is rapidly changing. The prominent debate is no longer whether offshore wind power is right for Massachusetts – it’s about the best way to make it happen.

New and influential voices are speaking up in support of bringing the resource online with legislation this session, including MA Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg. At a press conference yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker, reinforced the sentiment we heard in his State of the Commonwealth address, that if offshore wind power can be cost-competitive, we ought to embrace it.

“If we make the decisions now to launch the next American energy revolution here in Massachusetts by harnessing clean, wildlife-friendly offshore wind with made-in-America technology, we will reap the economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”

– Collin O’Mara, NWF President & CEO, in CommonWealth Magazine

Meanwhile in Rhode Island, the Port of Providence now hosts a temporary manufacturing facility where the nation's first offshore wind turbines are being assembled! Photo: NWF
The Port of Providence now hosts a temporary manufacturing facility where the nation’s first offshore wind turbines are being assembled — a sign of what’s to come for MA! Photo by NWF

If there’s a silver lining to the fact that the U.S. is getting in the offshore wind game 25 years behind Europe, it’s that advances in technology and development experience have finally moved the industry dramatically closer to being cost-competitive with the sources we currently rely on.

Last week, a study from the University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind delivered a very promising answer to the question, what will it cost? The findings are more than encouraging. They validate the need for a strong state policy to bring a large amount of offshore wind power into the Commonwealth’s energy mix.

A few highlights from the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Future Cost Study:

  • Building 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 will provide the market visibility needed to bring down the cost of wind by more than half of prices previously seen in New England.
  • Costs will continue to decline throughout the industry’s first decade on the scene, to a very competitive 10.8 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2030.
  • State leadership is critical: “U.S. states can, with thoughtful but straightforward policy, lower the cost of power from offshore wind.”
NWF President & CEO Collin O'Mara addressing the U.S. Offshore Wind Power Leadership Conference in Boston, Feb. 29, 2016. Photo: NWF
NWF President & CEO Collin O’Mara addressing the U.S. Offshore Wind Power Leadership Conference in Boston, Feb. 29, 2016. Photo by NWF

The stakes for this conversation have never been higher. We need to deliver large scale solutions to the threat of climate change, and we need to do it right. We need to prioritize the options that keep Massachusetts on track to meet or exceed our emissions reduction requirements under the Global Warming Solutions Act. Now is the moment for Governor Baker and the legislature to launch offshore wind power at the scale necessary to spark job creation, buffer ratepayers from the volatile fossil fuel market, and protect Massachusetts’ wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.

The conversation is changing in Massachusetts and all along the coast because together, we’ve made our voices heard. Decision-makers have heard the resounding call for a clean energy future and they are responding. We need to keep the pressure on, and let’s get specific: it’s time for a 2,000 megawatt commitment to offshore wind power for the Commonwealth.

Take Action

Tell Governor Baker that you want offshore wind power now!