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Eversource Looks to Sell Its Wind Farm Assets

Thu, 05/12/2022 - 12:06
Contractors for Orsted Offshore North America and Eversource Energy worked in April on a trench along Beach Lane in Wainscott, where eventually an underground cable will connect the companies' offshore wind farm to an electrical substation in East Hampton.
Durell Godfrey

Eversource, the Boston and Hartford-based energy company that is a partner with the Danish energy company Orsted in the South Fork Wind farm and other projects, may sell all or part of its offshore wind assets. 

Eversource has hired Goldman Sachs to undertake a strategic review of options for the offshore wind assets owned in its 50-50 joint venture with Orsted, John Olivieri, a spokesman, said in a statement provided to The Star. "This review could result in the sale of part or all of these assets."

Mr. Olivieri cited the recent pricing of new offshore wind leases, which he said indicates "that a sale of part or all of our offshore wind assets may present a strategic opportunity."

The federal Department of the Interior's Feb. 23 sale of six lease areas in the New York Bight, a portion of the Atlantic Ocean off New York and New Jersey, drew winning bids totaling approximately $4.37 billion, the nation's highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history. 

"As a public company, Eversource has a responsibility to consider all options with regards to its operations," Mr. Olivieri said. Eversource expects to complete the review during this year, according to a report of its first quarter 2022 results. 

"Eversource has been a valuable local partner for us as we've grown our business and successfully advanced our vision in the U.S. market, which has expanded, matured, and appreciated since Eversource partnered with us in 2016," Tony Mazzola, an Orsted spokesman, said. "The New York Bight auction results validate this trend and demonstrate the opportunities ahead for the U.S. market." 

In addition to the 12-turbine, 130-megawatt South Fork Wind farm, onshore construction for which is underway in East Hampton Town, Orsted and Eversource are partners in two other contracted projects: Sunrise Wind, a 924-megawatt wind farm to be located approximately 30 miles east of Montauk Point that will deliver power to New York State, and the 704-megawatt Revolution Wind, to be situated about 15 miles south of the Rhode Island coast, to deliver power to Rhode Island and Connecticut. Both are expected to be in service in 2025. The companies also jointly own a 257-square-mile tract off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island that is open for additional wind development. 

Orsted, Mr. Mazzola said, has more than a decade of experience in the emerging American offshore wind industry "and the largest offshore wind portfolio" in the country, including "wind farms in construction, projects where we are building both on and offshore components, and bids that demonstrate our transmission capabilities." 

"Eversource remains a catalyst for clean energy in New York and the Northeast," Mr. Olivieri said. "Proceeds from any potential sale would be used for major investments to support clean energy development and strengthen our grid to support widespread electrification. Eversource still believes strongly in the potential of offshore wind as a source of clean energy and a job-creating industry for the region. We will continue to work with our valued partner, Orsted, to advance our projects and consider bid opportunities as this strategic review proceeds."

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