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May 5, 2022

Eversource reviewing possible sale of offshore wind investments

Photo | Wikimedia Commons Ørsted North America's Block Island offshore wind farm.

Eversource Energy has begun a review of its offshore wind investments, which could result in the sale of all, or part of its 50% interest in its joint venture with the Danish power company Ørsted. 

Eversource said late Wednesday that its board of trustees approved the action, which was announced as part of the company’s first quarter results.

Eversource and Ørsted are partners on the high-profile Revolution Wind project, which aims to produce 704 MW of power about 15 miles south of the Rhode Island coast. It is intended to deliver power under long-term contracts, starting in 2025, to Rhode Island (400 MW) and Connecticut (304 MW). 

That project is the impetus for a goal to transform the New London State Pier into a modern, heavy-lift facility capable of supporting offshore wind turbine staging and assembly and a broader range of cargo businesses. Gov. Ned Lamont, a major backer of wind energy and the New London pier project, plans to talk to Eversource President and CEO Joe Nolan today about the company's plans, a source said.

Nolan said Eversource's review will occur “in light of the record-setting prices in the recent federal lease auction for tracts around the New York Bight and an evolving landscape.”

“Eversource remains committed to supporting offshore wind with advocacy, transmission investment solutions, and clean energy resource integration,” Nolan said.

Eversource has hired Goldman Sachs and Ropes & Gray as advisers to conduct the review, which will be finished this year.

If Eversource sells all, or part, of its interest in the offshore wind joint venture, the proceeds would be used to strengthen, modernize and decarbonize its regulated energy and water delivery systems, the company said.

The Ørsted joint venture includes two other contracted projects, in addition to Revolution Wind, with a total capacity of about 1,758 megawatts:

  • South Fork Wind (130 MW): located 35 miles east of Long Island’s Montauk Point, will interconnect into eastern Long Island where it will deliver power to households under a long-term power purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. Construction of South Fork began in early 2022 and the project is expected to be placed into service in late 2023.
  • Sunrise Wind (924 MW): located about 30 miles east of Long Island’s Montauk Point, will deliver power to New York State under a long-term purchase agreement with NYSERDA. Sunrise Wind is expected to be commissioned in late 2025.

In addition, the joint venture includes 175,000 acres located 25 miles off the south coast of Massachusetts, which is open for wind development.

Eversource said it will continue to provide oversight of the siting and construction of onshore elements of the three active projects during the review.

For the first quarter, Eversource reported profits of $443.4 million, or $1.28 per share, compared with earnings of $366.1 million, or $1.06 per share, in the year-ago period. 

During the quarter, Eversource said it recorded an after-tax charge of $24.1 million, or 7 cents per share, related to a fine from the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for its performance restoring power following the catastrophic impact of Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020.

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