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Connecticut joins Massachusetts and Rhode Island in offshore wind agreement

Governor Ned Lamont announces the deal with Rhode Island and Massacusets at the New London State Pier
Brian Scott-Smith
Governor Ned Lamont announces the deal with Rhode Island and Massachusetts at the New London State Pier.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a multi-state agreement for offshore wind procurement with Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The agreement allows the states to work together on future offshore wind projects.

The industry is currently hampered by rising costs and supply chain issues, but an agreement like this could finance projects at a lower cost.

Lamont said he believes in offshore wind and the state’s ability to make it happen.

“We’re going to go out to bid again early next year and we’re going to see whether the market has changed a little bit,” Lamont said. “Right now, with relatively high interest rates, some supply chain issues, getting the barge up or the boat here so we can move, you know, there are some constraints."

"And you can say that you worry about the wind power industry, but I don’t," Lamont added. "I think these are short-term things and we’re gonna keep going out to bid as we get the market right. That’s what we’re going to find out in January/February of next year.”

Katie Dykes, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said she is happy with the new deal.

“By aligning and shopping together we expect it to be able to achieve more competition in our RFPs (request for proposals),” Dykes said. “We’ll be able to make joint selection decisions. We think this is the kind of leadership that’s needed to help move the offshore wind investment future forward. I know that of course there’s been a lot of economic challenges that have been affecting infrastructure projects all across our country, all across our economy, and the renewable energy industry is not immune to that.”

The multi-state announcement comes days after energy company Avangrid announced they will pull out of their proposed project in Bridgeport. The company said the project is "unfinanceable" under its existing contracts with the state — and they will rebid next year.

David Ortiz, the northeastern head of government affairs for Ørsted, the global energy company responsible for many offshore wind farms.

Ortiz said his industry is facing challenges, but they still have plans to build the Revolution Wind farm, which will power homes in Connecticut once it is built.

“I would say that we’re planning to begin offshore construction in the new year,” Ortiz said. “We’re engaging with all our partners to continue to discuss the challenges that we face. We have not yet made a final investment decision on Revolution Wind.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.