170327 Press Rel 08 VejaMateWindfarm Reaches Halfway Installation MilestoneOrange: Avangrid Renewables of Portland , Oregon a subsidiary of Avangrid [NYSE AGR] of New Haven, the parent of United Illuminating has purchased a 50% stake in Vineyard Wind.

Formerly OffShore Wind MW, Vineyard Wind has leased an area of about 160,000 acres, approximately 14 miles from Martha’s Vineyard, where it hopes to develop as much as 1,600 megawatts of wind energy.

Denmark based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners is the co-owner and has been the lead developer.

Recently, Avangrid Renewables secured an offshore wind lease auction off the coast of North Carolina.  Avangrid which trades on the NYSE is a subsidiary of the international energy giant, Iberdola of Bilbao, Spain.

Avangrid is itself a diversified energy and utility company, with more than $31 billion in assets and operations in 27 states with regulated utilities and electricity generation through two primary lines of business. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England.

Avangrid Renewables operates 6.5 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,800 people. 

In late April the CEO of Avangrid Renewables Frank Burkhartsmeyer resigned as president to become chief financial officer at Northwest Natural Gas Company, Laura Beane, previoulsy vice president of operations and maintenance services, was elevated to CEO.

Avangrid’s CEO James Torgerson, was CEO of UIL, before it was acquired by Avangrid, he said the ownership stake in Vineyard Wind — combined with the company’s victory in the first offshore wind lease auction in the United States off the coast of North Carolina — shows that it is “well positioned to grow this sector.”

CIP, which manages approximately $4 billion in assets, acquired Vineyard Wind rights  in August.

Vineyard Wind hopes to begin construction on the project in early 2020. The proposed development timetable demonstrates a shift in wind in Massachusetts for off shore wind development.

Last August, the Baystate’s Republican Governor, Charlie Baker, rejected his party’s long standing opposition to off-shore wind energy power off the Cape when he signed a bill requiring Massachusetts to purchase 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power.

An earlier development Cape Wind Associates, battled Cape Cod business groups, Republican lawmakers, and even former Senator Ted Kennedy for more than a decade over the project.

In spite of receiving all necessary state and federal approvals, the project stalled over financing issues and now appears dead. Electricity rates procured from Cape Wind were expected to be nearly twice the cost of other electricity generation in the market. The financing problem produced the opportunity for Massachusetts utilities’ National Grid [NYSE: NGG], based in Warwick, UK and Eversource, [NYSE: ES] of Boston to disavow the power purchase agreements, essentially killing the project.

Avantrgrid and Vineyard Wind will be vying for purchase agreements and regulatory approvals with a project proposed by 50-50 partners Dong Energy of Fredericia, Denmark, and Eversource. Dong Energy’s largest private investor is Goldman Sachs owning more than 19% of the company.

The Bay State Wind, proposal is also 15 to 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and it is initially estimated to include 100 wind turbines and cost at least $1 billion. Eversource has committed $10 million to get the project rolling.

Denmark has two important energy distinctions; it has the highest concentration of wind power generation in the world [40% of the country’s consumption] and the highest electricity rates in the world of any advanced country, more than 40 cents per kilowatt.

Wind power advocates say costs for new projects in Europe can now compete more directly with other generation.