Strong, gusty winds will be blowing across New England on Wednesday. And in the near future, more of that wind energy will be harnessed and put to good use.
The Massachusetts Electric Distribution companies are expected to select offshore wind projects for negotiation later this month. This comes after several project proposals for offshore wind farms were submitted last year, in accordance with an order from the Governor.
In 2016 Gov. Charlie Baker signed the order mandating that the state use 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2027. The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center says that’s about 10-15 percent of the state’s annual electricity consumption.
That same policy center released a study in March saying that Massachusetts could produce more energy from offshore wind than any other state.
The report went on to say that if all the offshore wind power was harnessed in Massachusetts waters, it would be equal to 19 times the state’s annual electric consumption.
Even though offshore wind has been slow to evolve in Massachusetts so far, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has been working to prepare for it.
In recent years, the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal was constructed, and specifically designed to assemble and deploy offshore wind turbines.
The Wind Technology Testing Center was also built in Charlestown, offering certification tests for turbine blades.
The nation’s first offshore wind farm opened in 2017 off of Block Island, after years of debate and controversy.