May 15 (Renewables Now) - The Connecticut House of Representatives has passed a bill paving the way to bring up to 2 GW of offshore wind capacity in the state, it was announced on Tuesday.
House Bill 7156 was approved with an overwhelming 134-10 vote and will now be sent to the State Senate. In order to become law, it needs to be signed by governor Ned Lamont.
The proposed legislation authorises the state to buy up to 2 GW of offshore wind power, equal to 30% of the state load and calls for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to launch a solicitation 14 days after signing the bill. The agency will be required to make a schedule of future procurement rounds and collaborate with the Department of Economic and Community Development to make sure that the selected bids have positive impacts on the state’s economic development. DEEP will also be regulated to set up a commission and develop practices that will minimise the effects on wildlife, natural resources, ecosystems, while bidders will be required to develop mitigation plans in line with those practices.
“Our administration is working hard to put Connecticut in a place to become the center hub of the offshore wind industry in New England, and this legislation moves us one step closer to making that a reality,” Governor Lamont said.
The bill was approved just a week after Connecticut and Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Denmark’s Ørsted A/S (CPH:ORSTED) and US utility Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES), agreed to upgrade the infrastructure of the state’s State Pier harbour and expand its heavy-lift capabilities to meet the requirements of the offshore wind industry. In support of the bill, meanwhile, Vineyard Wind said in a separate statement it is keen to invest "millions of dollars" in the revamp of the Bridgeport Harbour that will allow it to be used as a staging area for the construction of its 800-MW wind complex off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.