Author Archives: Carson Robers

Recent New York White Paper Proposes Addition of Tier 4 (Renewable Energy Deliveries into New York City) to the Clean Energy Standard

July 10, 2020

Last month the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and New York Department of Public Service (DPS) published a White Paper on Clean Energy Standard Procurements to Implement New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This White Paper aims to provide a framework to better align the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) with its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) passed in 2019 while also utilizing the existing CES procurement structure to achieve the state’s target of 70% renewable energy by 2030. In part, within this White Paper NYSERDA and the DPS staff propose the addition of a Tier 4 to the CES in order to promote greater renewable energy delivery into New York City (NYISO Zone J).[1]

In 2019, New York City alone represented 33% of state electricity consumption. Whereas the Tier 1 and predecessor Main Tier Program has resulted in the development of renewable energy largely in the upstate region. The new Tier 4 Program focuses on bringing more renewable energy downstate, specifically to New York City. The proposed program would provide financial support for renewable energy transmitted into Zone J and create a procurement structure distinct from the procurement for offshore wind which will also interconnect downstate.

As proposed, any renewable energy system will be eligible under the Tier 4 Program, as long as it has a commercial operation date (COD) on or after the publication date of any New York Public Service Commission order authorizing this new tier. The White Paper outlays the delivery requirement as the renewable project must either be located in Zone J or involve a new transmission connection to deliver renewable energy to Zone J. Tier 4 RECs would also be eligible to meet compliance standards set by New York City Local Law 97, which aims to reduce building emissions but allows RECs delivered to the city to serve as an alternative form of compliance.

Importantly, the eligible resources are proposed to include the full complement of renewable resources including large scale hydropower. In this way the procurement is expected to have a number of similarities to the Massachusetts 83D renewable energy procurement that resulted in the selection of the 1,200 MW New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) to import hydropower from Hydro-Québec.  Similarly, given that CES Tier 4 resources will have to be delivered to New York City this proposal is likely to support the development of new transmission.

However, there are some key differences that are likely to result in greater opportunities for non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources from upstate New York and/or Canada. In the White Paper, NYSERDA seeks the ability to procure RECs from hydropower that does not involve new impoundments and is additional to the baseline production of energy from the supplier. Effectively these constraints are likely to limit the Tier 4 opportunity to hydro units that are already under construction or hydro energy that was previously spilled and also seeks to prevent hydroelectric energy from being diverted from other markets.

The White Paper recommends a procurement target for Tier 4 resources of up to 3,000 MW and suggests using the same solicitation and contracting process as used for Tier 1 resources. This process would include negotiating the COD on an ad hoc basis as well as allowing NYSERDA to enter into contracts with a tenor of up to 30 years and with multiple entities as necessary. The White Paper also proposes enabling NYSERDA to solicit both Fixed and Indexed REC bids under Tier 4 with a price cap. This price cap aims to ensure that renewable penetration into New York City increases without undue ratepayer impacts. Similar to Tier 1, compliance with the Tier 4 would be the financial responsibility of all load serving entities (LSEs) but the program would be centrally administered by NYSERDA.

Next Steps

With the publishing of the White Paper in docket 15-01168/15-E-0302, a 60-day public review and comment period was initiated. After which the Commission will act on the proposals in the White Paper and issue any orders determining the program design and implementation.

[1] The White Paper’s other proposals are not reviewed within this Power Advisory client note.

John Dalton, President; Carson Robers, Senior Consultant; and Sophia Vitello, Research Analyst

A PDF version is available here Power Advisory_New York Tier 4 Client Note_2020-7-10.

Price Forecasts & Electricity Market Subscriptions for Ontario & Alberta

Power Advisory is offering a subscription-based service for Ontario price and Global Adjustment forecasts and Alberta price forecasts. Along with forecasts we offer our electricity market update reports for Ontario and Alberta. In addition, we offer bi-monthly calls to subscribers featuring commentary on latest developments from each market through interactive one-hour discussions.

Read more about the new subscription services here.

New England Class I REC Market Update

While most Class I REC markets across the country are generally oversupplied, the smaller New England Class I REC market stands apart as recent events have driven prices dramatically higher over the last year (Figure 1). In fact, 2019 vintage Class I RECs have climbed all the way from $7/REC a year ago to about $40/REC today, a stunning 5.7x increase. This suggests a shortage of RECs available in the marketplace to compliance entities who need to meet state Renewable Portfolio/Energy Standards.

Figure 1. 2019 Vintage ISO-NE Class I REC Prices, Last 12 Months ($/REC)

Source: S&P Global, Power Advisory analysis

The main factor influencing the REC market is the anticipated timing of completion of a series of large offshore wind projects. There are currently 2,304 MW under contract in New England (including the 804 MW Mayflower Wind project which is negotiating PPAs with the Massachusetts electric distribution companies) and more expected in the future (namely an ongoing Connecticut procurement process for up to 2,000 MW). While the 800 MW Vineyard Wind project owned by Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners had appeared construction-ready, and almost at financial close, it suffered a setback when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) delayed the project’s federal permitting on August 9, 2019. BOEM has mandated that Vineyard Wind to go through a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that takes account the cumulative impacts of offshore wind development in the region.The timing of this analysis is unclear and is subject to normal public comment and review. Vineyard Wind is expected to be delayed at least six months, with potential knock-on effects for the rest of the offshore wind pipeline.

Other significant events that have driven prices higher by increasing REC demand or reducing supply include:

  • Maine increasing its RPS in June 2019 following the election of a new clean energy-friendly governor last year, and
  • National Grid selecting only one significantly smaller solar project for negotiation from its 400 MW renewable RFP in Rhode Island.

But it’s the offshore wind that is the big driver. Assuming a 48% capacity factor, the three ISO-NE utility-scale offshore wind farms alone that are under contract, consisting of Vineyard Wind (800 MW), Revolution Wind (700 MW) (Orsted/Eversource) and Mayflower Wind (804 MW) (Shell/EDPR), would generate almost 10 million MWhs when they are connected to the grid. Should those projects be connected by 2030 as expected, the modest amount of onshore renewables recently contracted come online, and trends in behind-the-meter solar continue, a gap of about 11 million MWhs would remain to meet RPS requirements within New England as a whole. However, Connecticut’s targeted 2,000 MW procurement and an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind planned by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources will fill – and then exceed – the estimated gap.

When considering the balance of the REC market it is important to note that each state has its own renewables standards and procurement statutes, with respective definitions, eligibility requirements and targets (see Figure 2 for the current Class I equivalent standards). Furthermore, RECs are tradable within ISO-NE and from adjacent control areas.

Figure 2. Current New England Class I Standards Through 2050

Once the contracted offshore wind projects reach commercial operation, expected to be in the 2023-2026 time frame, Class I REC pricing will presumably stabilize and then begin eroding as the much needed RECs hit the market. Until then, the pricing could remain high, as the market appears to be undersupplied. The additional 3,600 MW of offshore wind expected to be contracted by Connecticut and Massachusetts will result in an oversupplied market starting in the late 2020s.

Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP)

The alternative compliance payment (ACP) acts as ceiling to the market. The ACP is $70.44/REC in Massachusetts for 2019 and $55.00/REC in Connecticut. Thus, current bid-asks as lofty as $46/REC according to the Intercontinental Exchange, or 84% of the CT ACP, signal that we are nearing or at an undersupplied market. That’s because the alternative is to pay the ACP which is not that much higher.

New Build Capacity to Meet 2030 Targets

As noted above, Power Advisory estimates that the incremental 3,600 MW of offshore wind expected from Connecticut and Massachusetts in addition to the current renewables contracts and supply would entirely satisfy the 2030 New England RPS requirements. The aggressive offshore wind procurement targets combined with high capacity factors squeeze out opportunities for onshore wind and solar assets that have been used to comply with RPS to date. This is not to say that there are not onshore renewables development opportunities. For example, Maine will be issuing two near term Requests for Proposals for the equivalent of 14% of its 2018 retail electricity sales (discussed in Power Advisory’s July note on recently enacted legislation in the state).

Expected Long Term REC Pricing

Following the current New England Class I REC price spike, we expect prices to stabilize and then erode as the project development process catches up with the mandates, driven mainly by offshore wind and to a lesser extent, the Massachusetts SMART program and other procurements. Longer term (post-2030), we expect an oversupply of RECs leading to a substantially lower REC prices. Projects will become less reliant on RECs over time. Future regulatory and policy announcements, load growth due to electrification, or substantial retirements could support higher prices.

A PDF version of this note is available here.

Power Advisory welcomes the opportunity to assist clients’ understanding of the New England REC market and assessment of renewables development in the region.

Power Advisory LLC Kicks Off Procurement Process for Tidal Energy in Nova Scotia

Toronto, Ontario, November 6, 2019 – Power Advisory LLC (Power Advisory) has initiated the procurement process for an in-stream tidal energy demonstration project in Nova Scotia, which offers one of the largest tidal energy resources in the world.

In October Power Advisory was appointed as the Procurement Administrator for this procurement process by the province of Nova Scotia. As Procurement Administrator, Power Advisory will be responsible for ensuring that the procurement is fair, transparent and competitive. The province will consider projects with nameplate capacity of no more than four megawatts. Projects are to be restricted to Berth D within the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) marine renewable-electricity area. Project selection and subsequent awarding of a Marine Renewable-Electricity Licence and Power Purchase Agreement is conditional upon providing adequate financial security for the retrieval and disposal of the abandoned CSTV turbine at the site. Power Advisory expects to open the Call for Applications process in the near future, concurrently with the request for approval of the Power Purchase Agreement from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Interested parties that would like to participate in the procurement process should register at the tidal energy procurement website.  https://nstidalrenewables.poweradvisoryllc.com/

Further details regarding the procurement process will be shared with parties that have registered on the website shortly. The procurement objectives are to achieve the best value for Nova Scotia ratepayers and to support the advancement of Nova Scotia’s marine renewable energy sector.

Power Advisory is a leading North American management consulting firm offering extensive knowledge of the Nova Scotia electricity sector and has deep expertise in renewable energy competitive procurements. Power Advisory previously served as the Renewable Electricity Administrator in Nova Scotia, overseeing the 2012 Request for Proposals (RFP) for 300 GWh of renewable energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

For further information, please contact:

For Media Inquiries, please contact John Dalton at jdalton@poweradvisoryllc.com

For all other inquiries, please send email to NSTidalProcurementAdministrator-2019@poweradvisoryllc.com

Massachusetts DOER Clean Peak Standard Update

On August 7th and 9th, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) held informational meetings on the development of the Clean Peak Standard (CPS), which would require retail energy suppliers to procure a portion of their supplies from clean energy resources produced (either through generation or energy storage) during defined peak periods.

During these meetings a summary of the draft regulation was reviewed, which highlighted key features of the program:

  • The CPS will require retail electricity suppliers to meet a Minimum Standard Obligation, which will be a percentage of annual electricity sales. Starting in 2020, the minimum obligation will be 1.5% of retail electricity sales, and will increase by 1.5% each year, reaching 16.5% by 2030.
  • To meet the obligations, retail electricity suppliers purchase Clean Peak Energy Certificates (CPECs). The CPECs are generated during Seasonal Peak Periods by qualified Clean Peak Energy resources, which include:
    • New (in operation on or after 1/1/19) RPS Class I eligible resources
    • Existing RPS Class I or II resources paired with a Qualified Energy Storage System
    • Qualified Energy Storage System
    • Demand Response Resources
  • The number of CPECs generated is determined by the resource’s output during the Seasonal Peak Period with different multipliers applied for different seasons and to align production with various policy incentives (e.g., promoting resilience). Additionally, CPECs will be generated during the monthly system peak, which will be determined retrospectively at the end of the month.
    • Seasonal Peak Periods have been initially identified by DOER as the following:

For existing RPS Class I or II Resources paired with energy storage, the storage system must be at least 25% of the nameplate capacity of the RPS resource and offer a minimum of 4 hours of storage. DOER noted that this was to discourage large, existing RPS resources from being paired with a small storage system, resulting in minimal shifting of renewable energy production.

Qualified Energy Storage Systems must operate to primarily to store and discharge renewable energy. There are four options to demonstrate this:

  1. The storage system is co-located with an RPS Class I or II resource;
  2. The storage system is paired (operationally or contractually) with an RPS Class I or II resource.
  3. The storage system aligns charging periods with the designated charging windows defined by the DOER as shown below.
  4. The storage system has an operational schedule in their interconnection service agreement that demonstrates the “resolution of intermittency-based power issues”

CPEC multipliers are used to determine how much CPECs are generated from any qualified resource’s performance. Some multipliers are less than 1, effectively discounting the value of existing or contracted RPS Class I and II resources. The chart below summarizes these multipliers.

In a departure from the earlier SREC programs (SREC 1 and 2), DOER will collaborate with the EDCs to procure CPECs under long term contracts from suppliers. These long-term contracts will be a complement to the open market.

Next Steps

DOER plans to have a draft regulation filed by Q4 2019, which will kick-off a formal comment period and public hearings on the draft regulation. Q1 2020 is the target for the promulgation of the final regulations.

Key Questions

  1. Where will the market for CPECs settle?

DOER has proposed an Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP), which effectively represents a ceiling of $30 for CPECs. With battery storage anticipated to be the marginal resource that sets the price for CPECs, what revenues are needed from CPECs beyond anticipated energy and capacity market revenues?

  • What other value stacking opportunities are there?

The cycling requirements of the CPS are likely to limit these.

  • What are preferred project configurations?

Is the resilience multiplier sufficient to overcome economies of scale offered by larger projects that don’t benefit from this multiplier?

  • Is there sufficient revenue certainty given the program design?

DOER has proposed an optional procurement process for electric distribution companies. Fixing the price for CPECs doesn’t address the quantity risk associated with changes in the duration of Seasonal Peak Periods and changes to CPC multipliers. Will DOER mitigate this risk in the final program design?

US OSW Project Construction Pinch Points

Two weeks ago New York State announced that they were negotiating contracts with two OSW projects totaling 1,696 MW, with 2024 commercial operation dates (COD), a year when additional 1,348 MW is scheduled to enter commercial operation: Ørsted US Offshore Wind’s (Ørsted’s) 1,100 MW Ocean Wind Project and US Wind’s 248 MW Maryland project. With this the US Northeast/Mid-Atlantic has awarded or is anticipated to award this year OSW contracts representing over 6,000 MW. These are shown by their anticipated COD and developer below.

* Ørsted projects are with various partners including Eversource, PSEG and Dominion.

These projects will result in cumulative investment of about $22 billion and about 13,000 direct jobs (FTEs) and a total employment impact of over 42,000 during the construction period. This is a quick start to a major new industry where the supply chain to support it is just beginning to be developed. An obvious question is: can this industry develop at this pace, without significant and costly growing pains? While there are many challenges, work appears to be underway to address some of the largest pinch points. Oft-cited examples include ports, vessels and qualified labor in some trades (ex. metal fabrication and marine services).

States and OSW developers are aware of the port constraints and are seeking to ensure that the necessary investments have been made to enable the construction of these projects at reasonable costs and without undue delays.  Based on our assessment some gaps are that Vineyard Wind appears to need an additional port for its 800 MW contract with the Massachusetts EDCs beyond the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal and Equinor is in need of a port for marshalling, but New York State has earmarked $200 million for near term port development. 

Sufficient suitable vessels are another possible constraint. The Jones Act and port infrastructure clearly will shape the vessel spreads that developers will employ. While there are reportedly Jones Act compliant OSW installation vessels under construction, vessels and port restrictions including their size (both laydown area and quayside length), air draft restrictions and available infrastructure present challenges.

With respect to labor force constraints, this level of OSW development would result in about 2,400 fabricated structural metal manufacturing jobs and 1,600 marine services jobs (FTEs) during the construction period and over 500 OSW maintenance jobs. These are three areas with particular needs that could outstrip available resources, without training.  However, numerous investments being made by states and OSW developers to develop the workforce and suggests that this potential constraint is beginning to be addressed.

Some final questions:

  • Our initial analysis indicates that the critical pinch points are being addressed.   However, how do all these programs and investment fit together?
  • Is there unnecessary overlap or areas where additional investment will provide the greatest benefit in terms of avoiding supply constraints and facilitating the desired development of the OSW supply chain in the US?

New York Market Forecast and Renewables Development Consulting Services

Have you submitted an Application for Qualification for a generation project in the ongoing NYSERDA Renewable Energy Standard RFP (RESRFP19-1) or are otherwise looking to advance your renewable project development efforts in New York?

Power Advisory offers a full suite of New York market forecasts and strategy consulting services to support these development efforts. Our services include the essentials to forecast project revenues, understand the major risks and opportunities associated with participating in the New York markets and submitting competitive proposals. Power Advisory’s New York market offerings include:

Electricity Price Forecast (considering zonal and technology weighted NYISO energy revenues)
Capacity Price Forecast (focused on the NYISO spot auctions and locational differences)
NYSERDA Tier 1 REC Forecast (by contract year for the anticipated schedule of RES RFPs)
Carbon Pricing Proposal Analysis (considering the implementation of carbon pricing in the NYISO energy markets)
Policy & Market Backgrounders (covering the key policies and market structures that shape NY generation development)
Proposal Drafting/Strategy (direct support of bid preparation and strategies to maximize your chances for contract award)
Registration/Participation Support (for NYGATS and the NYISO administered markets)

We supported successful proponents in the last NYSERDA solicitation, RESRFP18-1, resulting in executed long-term fixed price REC contracts for our clients. 19 projects totaling 1,364 MW of solar, wind and energy storage were contracted in the 2018 solicitation. The weighted average REC price was $18.52. Since then, New York has upped its renewable and clean energy commitments with targets of 70% renewables by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 and there have been other significant market changes.

Power Advisory specializes in electricity market analysis and strategy, power procurement, policy development, regulatory and litigation support, market design and project feasibility assessment. Our team has completed work in each of the North American electricity markets including numerous consulting projects in New York State. Power Advisory’s understanding of wholesale electricity markets, energy policy, resource procurement and renewable technologies makes us well qualified to support your generation development efforts.

Recently Enacted Legislation Opens Up New Renewable Generation Development Opportunities in Maine

Since Janet Mills was sworn in as governor in January and the democrats had also secured control of both chambers, the expectation was that 2019 was going to be a big year for climate and clean energy in Maine. This has certainly turned out to be true. As an early action, Governor Mills issued Executive Order 3 FY 19/20 to conclude the Maine Wind Advisory Commission and wind permit moratorium that had been in place since the beginning of 2018. A flurry of legislation was also introduced addressing everything from net metering (re-instituted in March through L.D. 91) to electrification, the renewable portfolio standard, procurement targets and Aqua Ventus floating offshore wind pilot project.

Leading up to the adjournment of the legislative session on June 20th a number of these bills passed and were subsequently signed by the Governor. Most notable to renewable generation development in the state were L.D. 1494 and L.D. 1711, which are reviewed below. These offer direct opportunities for long-term contracts for new projects. Respectively, about 400-800 MW of utility scale renewables and 375 MW of distributed solar by 2024.

An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (L.D. 1494 / Chapter 477 PL)

L.D. 1494 passed the legislature on June 18th, 2019 and was signed into law by the Governor the following week. It expands Maine’s RPS to 80% by 2030 and to 100% by 2050 from 40% (Class I – New 10% and Class II – Existing Resources 30%) while creating a new class of RPS resources, Class IA, for the incremental renewable generation capacity targeted.

In addition, it calls for the competitive procurement of Class IA resources to the level of 14% of 2018 state retail electricity sales, about 1,500 GWh, through a series of two RFPs to be issued by 2021. Energy storage, mechanical, chemical or thermal, can be awarded contracts if paired with eligible Class IA resources. The first RFP is likely to be issued in late 2019 or early 2020 for approximately 750-1,100 GWh (7-10% of 2018 sales per the legislation). A second RFP will then be issued in late 2020 but no later than Jan 15th, 2021 for 450-750 GWh (14% of 2018 electricity sales minus the generation contracted in the first RFP).

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is responsible for administering the reformed RPS  including the two mandated procurements. In this role, the Commission is to direct the Maine investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities to enter the long-term contracts selected from the RFPs. The state’s two investor owned utilities are Avangrid’s Central Maine Power (CMP) and Emera Maine (Bangor Hydro Electric Co. and Maine Public Service Co.), which is pending sale to ENMAX Corporation. While the Commission will retain significant discretion in the solicitations certain aspects were directed in L.D. 1494.

Overall the estimated near term opportunity resulting from the reformed Maine RPS is 400 MW of  land based wind, 850 MW solar or a combination of the two technologies.This opportunity for new renewable generation resources could be up to 25% lower to the extent that sufficient resources that began commercial operations on or prior to June 30, 2019 are available.

An Act To Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine (L.D. 1711 / Chapter 478 PL)

L.D. 1711 calls for the competitive procurement of distributed generation (DG) resources in sequential blocks for a total of 125 MW commercial or institutional DG (i.e. non-residential customers) and 250 MW of community shared DG by July 1, 2024. The initial procurement must occur on or before July 1, 2020 with the rules for both solicitations to be in place by January. Four additional blocks of DG are then to be used by the PUC to meet the overall procurement goals with stipulations on each block that the contract rate be equal to 97% of the preceding block. For the purposes of these procurements a DG resource means an electric generating facility with a nameplate capacity less than 5 MW that uses an eligible renewable fuel or technology and is located in the service territory of a Maine T&D utility. Solar is understood to be the predominant distributed renewable technology.

There are number of specifics in this law with regards to the competitive procurements and net energy billing which should be reviewed. An earlier version included a 400 MW utility-scale procurement provision with a $35/MWh cap, but that was struck from the enacted version.

Carson Robers, Senior Consultant, Power Advisory LLC

A PDF version of this note is available here.

Review of New Jersey Ocean Wind Project Pricing

This memo updates our review of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (OREC) award to Ørsted US Offshore Wind’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project. The BPU made available its order and this provided additional details, which required that our earlier memo be updated. In this memo, we focus on the Ocean Wind contract pricing.

The Ocean Wind project will be developed in three tranches of 368 MW each with a COD in 2024. The first year all-in OREC price is $98.10 per MWh and this price is realized only by Phase 1 for one-month after which it escalates. The price escalates at 2% per year such that in 2045 the contract price will be $148.68/MWh. This equates to a nominal levelized price of $116.82/MWh, representing a 19% premium relative to the price for the smaller Revolution Wind project secured by Rhode Island, which has a similar COD in 2024. The premium is considerably greater relative to the contract price for the Vineyard Wind project, which is able to realize a higher investment tax credit.

Nominal Levelized Pricing Comparison ($/MWh)

Frankly, we are surprised by the magnitude of this premium, even with the superior wind resource that is available to the Revolution Wind project. Interestingly, the OREC Order provides for an annual OREC allowance, which implies a 50%, capacity factor which is higher than that reported for Revolution Wind. However, Ocean Wind is precluded from selling more ORECs than its annual allowance, so this allowance is likely to be greater than a P50 estimate.

The lack of transparency regarding the evaluation and scoring framework used by the BPU doesn’t help in explaining this outcome. The BPU evaluation criteria were identified as the OREC purchase price, economic impact, ratepayer impact, environmental impact, the strength of guarantees for economic impact, and the likelihood of successful commercial operation. However, the relative weights of these evaluation criteria aren’t specified and the tradeoffs that the BPU made in selecting Ocean Wind cannot be ascertained.

Nonetheless, it does appear that there were tradeoffs with respect to these evaluation criteria. Specifically, the BPU order indicates that the Ocean Wind project “provides the best economic development benefits to the state of any of the applicants.” Further, it notes that “Although other projects presented a lower PVNOC [Present Value of Net OREC Cost], given the Ocean Wind 1,100 MW project’s strength in all of the other evaluation criteria, an award to Ocean Wind is in the best interest of the State of New Jersey and its ratepayers” (BPU Order, p. 19).

A PDF version of this memo is available here.

New Jersey Awards its First Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates Solicitation to Ørsted’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind Project

Today the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) unanimously approved the state’s first Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (OREC) award towards its 3,500 MW goal to Ørsted US Offshore Wind (Ørsted)’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project. Ocean Wind will be located in the federally leased New Jersey Wind Energy Area about 15 miles offshore Atlantic City, NJ. The commercial operation date for Ocean Wind is in 2024.

This award doubles Ørsted’s contractual commitments in the early 2020s including the 704 MW Revolution Wind project (between Connecticut and Rhode Island PPAs), 130 MW South Fork Wind Farm (Long Island Power Authority PPA), 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot and 120 MW Skipjack Wind Farm (Maryland ORECs). The majority of these projects are in partnership with other parties but still leaves only two currently contracted projects not affiliated with Ørsted, Vineyard Wind’s 800 MW project (Massachusetts PPA) and US Wind’s 268 MW Maryland Wind Project (Maryland ORECs).

Ocean Wind is to be developed in partnership with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)’s non-utility affiliates under a memorandum of understanding. PSEG’s regulated distribution business, PSE&G, is New Jersey’s largest electric and gas utility serving almost two thirds of the state. PSEG also holds an option to be an equity investor in the project. The relationship between the two companies stems from PSEG’s partnership as Garden State Offshore Energy in acquiring an OSW lease area with Deepwater Wind, whom was subsequently acquired by Ørsted in November 2018. It also follows the model used by Ørsted offshore Massachusetts, where it has a joint venture with Eversource, Baystate Wind. Similar to PSEG, Eversource has a regulated electric and gas business and considerable local expertise that compliments Ørsted’s extensive OSW experience.

New Jersey OSW Background

The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act authorized the New Jersey BPU to establish an OREC program in 2010. After almost eight years of stalled implementation and development under the previous administration, newly sworn in Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #8 (EO8) on January 31, 2018. E08 directed all New Jersey agencies with responsibilities under the OWEDA to fully implement it to meet a goal of 3,500 MW from OSW by 2030. The timing of this first solicitation sought to maximize the selected project’s eligibility for the expiring federal Investment Tax Credit, which is estimated represent over $300 million in ratepayer savings. Two additional solicitations of 1,200 MW each are scheduled for 2020 and 2022 to reach the overall goal. Identifying these second and third large, near-term procurements is also intended to induce the OSW supply chain to locate in New Jersey.

The OREC structure in New Jersey differs from the other RECs, which provide an additional source of revenue beyond energy and capacity. The BPU’s OREC Funding Mechanism is based on the procurement of a bundled energy, environmental attribute and capacity product, with settlement based on realized wholesale energy and capacity prices.

2018 OREC Application Window for 1,100 MW and Awarded Pricing

Applications were received by the BPU from three OSW developers: Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind (an EDF Renewables and Shell New Energies joint venture), Boardwalk Wind (an Equinor project from its New York lease area) and the ultimately successful proponent, Ocean Wind. The primary evaluation criteria the BPU employed to review theses proposals included OREC purchase price, economic impact, ratepayer impact, environmental impact, the strength of guarantees for economic impact, and the likelihood of successful commercial operation.

The Ocean Wind project was accepted at a nominal levelized all-in OREC price of $116.82/MWh. After the forecast energy and capacity revenues are netted out, the levelized cost of the Ocean Wind OREC to ratepayers is estimated by the BPU to be $46.46/MWh. It is reported that the project is expected to result in net economic benefits of $1.17 billion to the state.

For comparison the levelized PPA prices for the Revolution Wind project, which has a similar COD in 2024, is $98.425/MWh in Rhode Island and $99.50 (200 MW) and $98.425 (104 MW) in Connecticut. This suggests New Jersey realized a significant premium relative to the pricing for these smaller OSW projects in New England. There are important differences between the two projects such as contract structure; wind resource, which is generally superior in New England; project size; level of ITC realization; and market conditions at the time of bidding. To date Massachusetts has realized the most cost-effective OSW project at a nominal average price of $84.23/MWh (Vineyard Wind). 

Note the last section of this memo was updated and a supplemental review of Ocean Wind’s pricing is available here.

A PDF version of this note is available here.