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Commonwealth Wind bows out of nearly finished contract, says costs have risen too high

Park City Wind pic.JPG
Avangrid
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Avangrid's Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind locations are southwest of Vineyard Wind 1.

The parent company of Commonwealth Wind says it can no longer build its wind farm at the prices negotiated with Massachusetts electric companies.

Avangrid previously sought to renegotiate the contracts, but the state refused.

On Friday, the company filed papers asking the Department of Public Utilities to dismiss the approval proceedings for its offshore wind contracts with Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil.

Avangrid said price pressures — including the war in Ukraine, supply shortages, rising interest rates, and inflation broadly — have increased the cost of building Commonwealth Wind to the point that financing the project would be impossible under the current terms.

Kim Harriman, a senior vice president at Avangrid, said the best way for Massachusetts to deliver Commonwealth Wind’s 1,200 megawatts of power is to include that power in a new solicitation next year.

She said re-bidding is better than trying to amend the power-purchase agreements, or PPAs, and that an effort to amend would carry “litigation potential … by those who don't want to see clean generation make it to market.”

Avangrid’s request to dismiss the current contracts “wasn't the end of this project,” she said. “It was finding a path forward, and we're not stopping.”

Harriman said that in next year’s bid, Commonwealth Wind will offer an accelerated timeline because its federal permitting is already underway.

The wind farm could still open in 2028, she said.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.