Boston's Morning Newsletter
Massachusetts aims to double the amount of offshore wind in its pipeline. Here's what comes next
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Gov. Maura Healey wants to double the amount of wind power in the Massachusetts pipeline — and the state took a big first step in that direction yesterday.
As WBUR’s Miriam Wasser reports, officials released a draft proposal asking offshore wind developers for their plans to produce another 3,600 megawatts of offshore wind power. If approved, it would be the biggest-ever solicitation of wind energy in New England history. But there’s a long road between asking and getting.
- What we know: Prepare for a lot of turbines. The 3,600 megawatts the state wants would be enough to supply a quarter of Massachusetts’ annual electricity demand. For comparison’s sake, the 62-turbine Vineyard Wind project, slated to begin operations by the end of the year, will produce 800 megawatts.
- What we don’t know: The developer, timeline, location(s) and ultimate size of the project(s) are all still TBD. It’s very possible — likely, even — those 3,600 megawatts will be split into multiple projects, rather than one giant wind farm.
- Zoom out: Massachusetts’ goal is to reach 5,600 megawatts of wind power by 2027. In addition to Vineyard Wind, the pipeline includes the 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project and SouthCoast Wind — formerly known as Mayflower Wind — which plans to produce another 1,200 megawatts. Those projects won’t be operational for at least several more years.
- Headwinds ahead: Commonwealth Wind and (to a lesser degree) SouthCoast Wind have been mired in uncertainty due to rising inflation and interest rates. Commonwealth is even trying to get out of its contract and renegotiate its deal with the state. No one knows how this will get worked out. But we do know it will have a big effect on the progress toward that 5,600-megawatt goal.
- What’s next: Healey’s administration hopes to open bidding on the new procurement by this June, with a Jan. 31, 2024 due date for submissions. This round also includes new criteria the state hopes will ease the challenges of rising costs, like the elimination of a controversial price cap and the OK for companies to build more flexibility into their pricing proposals.
- Go deeper: Why is offshore wind so central to Massachusetts’ climate goals? Read our 2021 series “Power shift” on the new industry and the biggest questions it faces.
And the winner is… Bill MacGregor. The more moderate Democrat in the race for former state Rep. Ed Coppinger’s 10th Suffolk district seat won yesterday’s special primary election. With no GOP candidate on the ballot, the result means MacGregor will be the new state rep for West Roxbury and parts of Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and Brookline.
- John Moran, an ex-Biogen employee, won his less suspenseful race for former state Rep. Jon Santiago’s 9th Suffolk district seat in the South End and Dorchester. (He also has no GOP opponent.)
An Ashland woman and her 18-month-old daughter are back in Massachusetts after escaping the emerging conflict in Sudan. Trillian Clifford’s sister-in-law Rebecca Winter told WBUR’s Amy Sokolow that the 1,300-mile journey took over 100 hours, including a bus convoy through the desert to Egypt during which armed soldiers repeatedly stopped them and once demanded bribes from passengers.
- While sheltering in place in Khartoum, Clifford sent voice memos to WBUR describing the violent, deteriorating conditions. “We are hearing a lot of gunshots and explosions,” she described.
Get ready, Open Newbury will be a weekly event this summer. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced yesterday that Newbury Street will be pedestrian-only every Sunday from July 2 through Oct. 15 — effectively adding 10 more Open Newbury days to this year’s schedule.
Wu also announced an expanded lineup of Open Streets days across Boston, including new events in Allston-Brighton and East Boston, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of the selected days. Here’s the schedule:
- Sunday, June 25: Centre Street (Jamaica Plain)
- Saturday, July 15: Blue Hill Avenue (Roxbury)
- Saturday, Aug. 19: Harvard Avenue and Brighton Avenue (Allston-Brighton)
- Sunday, Sept. 17: Dorchester Avenue (Dorchester)
- Sunday, Oct. 15: Meridian Street and Bennington Street (East Boston)
P.S.— It’s here: the final episode of Violation. After his parole revocation, what are Jacob Wideman’s legal options? Listen to the finale — or binge all seven episodes — of WBUR’s new podcast with The Marshall Project wherever you get your podcasts.