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Massachusetts offshore wind project "no longer viable"

November 2, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dave Ward


But surely wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity? So how comes it’s not viable?



A wind energy company named Avangrid has been in the process of developing a massive offshore wind farm called the Commonwealth Wind project, working with the support of the state of Massachusetts for several years. When completed, it was to be a 1,200-megawatt energy source. A second offshore project from Mayflower Wind was to produce an additional 400 megawatts. But now, the companies behind both of these projects have asked the state to put the plans on hold. The reason given was that the projects are “no longer viable” under the current conditions and they will be unable to move forward for the time being. But the reason for hitting the brakes has little to do with technology or weather and a great deal to do with the economy. (New Bedford Light)

A major offshore wind project in the Massachusetts pipeline “is no longer viable and would not be able to move forward” under the terms of contracts filed in May. Both developers behind the state’s next two offshore wind projects are asking state regulators to pause review of the contracts for one month amid price increases, supply shortages and interest rate hikes.

Utility executives working with assistance from the Baker administration last year chose Avangrid’s roughly 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project and a 400 MW project from Mayflower Wind in the third round of offshore wind procurement to continue the state’s pursuit of establishing cleaner offshore wind power. Contracts, or power purchase agreements (PPAs), for the projects were filed with the Department of Public Utilities in May.

As noted above, these wind farms aren’t being put on hold because the wind suddenly stopped blowing offshore. (Though that does happen from time to time.) Nor were the developers running into problems with their turbines, or at least no more than usual. As with so many things in American politics and the industrial sector… it’s the economy, stupid.

The problems being cited by the developers are no doubt familiar to almost all of you by now. They are describing global commodity price increases, sudden increases in interest rates, and supply chain woes that are slowing production and driving up costs. Declining labor force levels are adding additional concerns. All of these factors are combining to make the construction of the project unsustainable.

There’s an obvious bit of irony in seeing the same state and federal government actors who have pushed “green energy” down everyone’s throats sitting on this particular sideline. Those same people whose policies helped drive this collapse in the supply chain and the labor market, along with the spike in the prices of pretty much everything, are now watching as one of their signature “clean energy” achievements falls victim to the conditions they created.

In their brief, the developers suggested possible solutions to get them back on track. These included cost-saving measures and government tax incentives. But the only way these projects ever got off the ground initially was because the government was already massively subsidizing the wind energy industry in general and these proposed wind farms in particular. Wind energy is not profitable in and of itself without huge government subsidies. And now that the economy has largely collapsed over the past two years, those chickens are coming home to roost, assuming they avoid getting chopped up in the blades of a wind turbine like the eagles.

Here’s an exit question for the peanut gallery to consider. Has anyone checked to see how well these turbines would hold up if a category 4 or 5 hurricane blew through? It doesn’t happen often off the coast of the northeast, but I’m sure that the people there still remember Sandy. I did some checking, and the developers claim that those sorts of weather events have been “taken into consideration.” But those towers look rather spindly to be standing tall in 150-mile-per-hour winds. But hey… maybe that’s just me.


The point about interest rates is particularly relevant. For years, capital intensive wind farms have been subsidised by artificially low interest rates. Now that interest are beginning to rise, new construction projects will look decidedly unattractive.

  1. November 2, 2022 3:30 pm

    Best mothball them as they will only exacerbate their own problems if allowed further financial crutches.

    On second thoughts blowing them up like the coal mines might be a better solution. The money saved could go to building a Small Modular Reactor.

  2. November 2, 2022 3:31 pm

    It’s just not happening for New England on the energy scene. Can’t even get any US fracked gas thanks in part to the Jones Act, also their own aversion to pipelines.

    Running short of options.

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    November 2, 2022 3:36 pm

    I can’t imagine Climate Hero Barack Obama would allow a wind farm within 100 miles of his sea-front property.

  4. November 2, 2022 3:47 pm

    Wind power is the cheapest source of electricity if it has big subsidies, tax breaks, doesn’t have to pay for extra infrastructure, doesn’t have to pay for back-up and doesn’t have to pay to maintain grid stability. Have I forgotten anything?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 2, 2022 4:51 pm

      …and, if they offload the turbines before their end date, they don’t have to pay to restore the sea/landscape. The poor bloody taxpayer will.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        November 3, 2022 7:49 am

        The taxpayer/consumer has to pay for removal and restoration no matter what – why shouldn’t they?

    • John Brown permalink
      November 2, 2022 6:57 pm

      And they get restraint payments for when they produce electricity that is not needed by the National Grid and paid again for the same electricity if it can be used by an “off-grid” application.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      November 2, 2022 9:38 pm

      I was sent a cartoon today that seems appropriate. As I don’t know how to insert an image I will type the message.
      Now that the grid is struggling to keep up with demand, it might be time to re-evaluate the plan to plugg in 25 million EVs every night.

    • November 3, 2022 7:55 am


      their short life span.

  5. Martin Brumby permalink
    November 2, 2022 3:52 pm

    I think so, Philip. Also distributes very handsome brown envelopes to our Beloved Leaders, no doubt.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    November 2, 2022 6:27 pm

    Conclusion, whirlygig boondoggle manufacturers can guaranteed much better prices for their negligible renewable lecky from idiot green pols in the UK.

  7. November 2, 2022 6:49 pm

    I had tried to look up the price of natural gas, fuel oil and electricity for the coming winter for New England and could not find good numbers, just a general belief that the cost of heating would be double last year’s prices.

    However, I did come across an article on the cost to build natural gas pipelines into New England and it was $3 billion dollars. The author thought it would end up being nearly $6 billion before it was finished. With the mandates for carbon free energy and the plans to build out renewables he felt it was a waste of money. With ~5 million households and last year’s energy costs for heating of ~$1000/household, they are looking a $5 billion increase in the price to stay warm just this year. Now it looks like much of the renewable infrastructure may never be built due to supply chain issues and high interest rates.

    I wonder how many shiploads of LNG will need to be delivered to New England at inflated world prices before even a $6 billion price tag for pipelines looks like a real bargain.

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    November 2, 2022 9:09 pm

    And the lights all went out in Massachussets…

    • November 3, 2022 11:00 am

      New York will not allow a pipeline bringing gas from West Virginia to New England to cross their State. We will see if Lee Zeldin breaks through on Tuesday.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 3, 2022 3:38 pm

        It goes back before Saturday Night Fever…

      • HotScot permalink
        November 4, 2022 9:06 am

        Everything crossed here!

    • November 4, 2022 11:09 am

      I enjoyed hearing that song again. My ancestor, Edward FitzRandolph, came on the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 to Massachusetts. However, he moved his family moved to New Jersey where he died. Fortunately, my 4th g-grandfather, Robert FitzRandolph moved to Meadville in western Pennsylvania following his service in the American Revolution from both NJ and PA.

      I am grateful to Edward as he is my “immigrant ancestor” ticket to Magna Carta through Surety Barons, Roger Bigod and his son, Hugh Bigod. I was at Runnymede w/ 106 of my group The National Society of Magna Charta Dames and Barons on June 15, 2015 for the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. My thumbnail picture is from the unveiling of the statue of Queen Elizabeth II the day before.

      I am happy that they left both MA and NJ. Daddy left PA to get his PhD in chemistry from MIT and then came to teach at WVU.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    November 2, 2022 9:31 pm

    ‘Massachusetts offshore wind project “no longer viable”‘

    Oh, yeah! It used to be viable.

    Ha ha ha ha.

  10. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 2, 2022 10:34 pm

    This doesn’t come cheap either

    Net zero goals will require installation of hundreds of miles of cables and pylons
    National Grid says seven times as much infrastructure must be built in the next seven or eight years than was built in the last 32

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 3, 2022 2:33 am

      Net zero has always been their business plan for extraordinary growth. I am perhaps one of a handful who understands their motivation.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 3, 2022 12:56 pm

        Is their plan based on Bastiat?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 3, 2022 7:56 am

      And what nobody understands is that even if you could do that, it means the equivalent stuff in other areas of the economy cannot be built. There’s seems to be no appreciation of opportunity cost at any level of government. If we want to build Green infrastructure at that rate, we cannot also build schools, hospitals, roads or houses.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 3, 2022 11:00 am

        Basically Bastiat and his broken window taken to a national level

  11. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 3, 2022 7:53 am

    Let’s make the price of stuff we don’t like really high.

    What, making the stuff we do like requires the stuff we don’t like?

    Why didn’t anybody tell us?

  12. Gerry, England permalink
    November 3, 2022 11:30 am

    Interest rates are actually normalising now after being held artificially low since 2008.

    And for ‘government subsidies’, as ever, read taxpayers cash.

  13. Rowland P permalink
    November 3, 2022 12:27 pm

    See FairfuelUK for a cost/benefit analysis carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research regarding the banning of petrol and diesel cars. The numbers don’t stack up too well!

  14. James Broadhurst permalink
    November 3, 2022 5:31 pm

    Interesting Avangrid have given Massachusetts State a month to renegotiate the PPA – price purchase agreement. Upwards. Another 2 projects are the same. These appear to be another name for CfD agreements with the requirement by the State that subsequent wind farms sell electricity at a cheaper price. Difficult.

  15. November 4, 2022 4:49 am

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

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