New England is embracing the opportunity to be a national clean energy pioneer, AVANGRID, Inc. CEO James P. Torgerson told North American energy industry leaders. Torgerson was speaking at the New England-Canada Business Council’s 26th Annual U.S.-Canada Energy Trade & Technology Conference this week, where he highlighted the Orange, Connecticut-based company’s two major projects.
He said the projects are designed to inject a combined 2 GW of renewable energy into the New England power grid and create thousands of jobs. “AVANGRID is investing in a cleaner, smarter energy future — both here in New England and nationally,” said Torgerson.
Torgerson said Vineyard Wind, a 50/50 joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), is poised to build the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, pending approvals. He discussed the synergy between Vineyard Wind and another pending AVANGRID project: the New England Clean Energy Connect proposal to transport 1,200 MW of hydropower from the Canadian border to the New England power grid.
“These projects present clear synergies,” Torgerson said. “When Vineyard Wind is fully operational in 2022, it will provide 800 megawatts of clean, offshore wind energy for the New England power grid at a competitive cost. The New England Clean Energy Connect proposal to transport 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid would complement Vineyard Wind, delivering a diverse supply of reliable, renewable power for the region.”
Torgerson said the two projects remain on-track, and expressed confidence they will secure necessary approvals in 2019 and reach required commercial operations consistent with Massachusetts contracts. Vineyard Wind is expected to create approximately 3,600 full-time jobs over the life of the project, while New England Clean Energy Connect is projected to support an average of 1,700 jobs annually through 2022.
Viewed together, Torgerson said, these multi-billion-dollar investments show how AVANGRID is helping to meet growing demand for renewable energy while spurring development of the nation’s emerging offshore wind industry. Avangrid Renewables holds a secured lease with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management allowing the company to develop an offshore wind facility on 122,000 acres off the coast of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Multiple U.S. states have announced RFPs seeking to bring more renewable energy to their power grids.
“We’re seeing thoughtful and pragmatic approaches by at least a half dozen states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic who are trying to build the market, attract the supply chain, work with stakeholders, and train workers — all of which sets the cornerstone for future growth,” Torgerson added.
Torgerson said both AVANGRID and CIP are well-positioned to help kick-start the development of offshore wind in the United States. As part of the global Iberdrola Group, AVANGRID has access to Iberdrola’s expertise and experience in building offshore wind facilities, such as the 350-megawatt Wikinger Offshore Wind Farm in Germany, which began operations last month.
“There are unquestionably tremendous long-term economic opportunities available in the United States for the first movers as the wind industry heads offshore, and the competition to go first or be first will deliver jobs and supply chain benefits for decades, as well as increasingly competitive energy prices for customers,” Torgerson said. “The biggest challenge will be to create the supply chain — AVANGRID and CIP can leverage our European experience and match it with local companies so that the industry can capitalize on existing infrastructure and overseas expertise.”