Statement on New England States’ RFI on Offshore Wind Transmission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2022 
Jennifer Delony, New England for Offshore Wind, 603.320.7043 

Statement on New England States’ RFI on Offshore Wind Transmission
Comments due Oct. 14 

BOSTON – September 6, 2022 – Five New England states jointly released a request for information on Sept. 1 that will inform an initiative to integrate offshore wind and other clean resources onto the regional power grid in a cost-effective, reliable and efficient manner. 

Susannah Hatch, Environmental League of Massachusetts Director of Clean Energy Policy and New England for Offshore Wind Regional Lead, said: 

“New England for Offshore Wind is thrilled that five of the six New England states have come together to issue this request for information and explore investment options for the transmission infrastructure needed to integrate clean resources, including offshore wind, onto the regional power grid. The coalition is looking forward to participating in the RFI process. Transmission is a critical challenge that needs to be addressed for us to seize the opportunity offshore wind presents the region.” 

Melissa Birchard, Director for Clean Energy & Grid Reform, Acadia Center, said: 

“It’s critical to start work now on the transmission solutions needed to connect New England with more offshore wind, and this joint request for information on well-planned, offshore grid solutions will do that. A well-planned offshore grid that channels more wind to communities using fewer cables could slash costs and impacts.” 

The RFI seeks comments on a conceptual framework for a multistate Modular Offshore Wind Integration Plan and ways to facilitate access to federal funding, especially under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

Comments on the RFI are due by Oct. 14. The RFI can be accessed at Participating states will use information they receive through the RFI to inform decisions on possible steps for procuring or facilitating transmission infrastructure investment. 

In June, 38 organizations from across New England sent a letter to the New England governors urging them to issue the joint RFI. The letter represents the first time this diverse group of organizations has come together to advocate for transmission infrastructure. 

Transmission Principles 

On Sept. 6, New England for Offshore Wind released a set of Transmission Principles to help advance new transmission investments needed for offshore wind. The Transmission Principles establish a shared direction for transmission planning and development to bring offshore wind from New England’s coastal waters to its communities, providing maximum benefit with minimum impact.  

The coalition’s Transmission Working Group developed the Transmission Principles to establish shared goals and advance six core principles that should become the “B.A.S.I.C.S.” for transmission planning and development. The shared goals include building the transmission we need without delay, encouraging coordination between state and regional decision makers, and ensuring holistic and transparent planning processes that further important goals, such as environmental justice. 

The coalition’s six Transmission Principles are: 

  • Benefit impacted communities; 
  • Avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental impacts; 
  • Secure environmental justice; 
  • Inclusive and early stakeholder engagement; 
  • Coordinate on transmission investments; and 
  • Supply local jobs and economic development. 

About New England for Offshore Wind: 

New England for Offshore Wind is a broad-based coalition of businesses and associations, environmental and justice organizations, academic institutions, and labor unions committed to combatting climate change by increasing the supply of clean energy to our regional grid through more procurements of responsibly developed offshore wind. We believe that responsibly developed offshore wind is the single biggest lever we can pull to address the climate crisis while also strengthening our regional economy, protecting ratepayers, creating high quality jobs, and improving public health by reducing pollution.