Shell, EDP Set Record-Low Price for U.S. Offshore Wind Power

[Electric energy generating wind turbines are seen on a wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass area on April 22, 2016, near Palm Springs, California. Photographer: DAVID MCNEW/AFP]

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and EDP Renovaveis SA agreed to sell power from a wind farm they’re building in the Atlantic Ocean for a record-low price.

The 804-megawatt Mayflower wind farm, located south of Martha’s Vineyard, will supply electricity to utilities in Massachusetts for $58 a megawatt-hour over the life of the contract. That’s less than a previous deal for $65 agreed to with the similarly located 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project, state energy officials said on a conference call Tuesday.

“The Commonwealth has now solicited two cost-effective projects at prices far below what industry experts had projected a few years ago,” Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs for Massachusetts, said on the call.

Wholesale electricity prices averaged $40.24 a megawatt-hour in day-ahead trading in the New England grid over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore wind costs are higher, but the renewable technology is gaining in use in Europe and Asia, driving down the lifetime sales prices.

The U.S. market emerged after governors along the Atlantic Ocean committed to carbon-free electricity. Now, more than 20 gigawatts of wind farms are planned in federal waters from North Carolina to Maine, bringing with it some $70 billion in investments. State governments have been haggling over costs of offshore wind with developers, weighing the price and clean attributes against potential job growth and economic development.

Connecticut signed a contract with Vineyard Wind in December that the state said was the lowest publicly announced at that time. New York agreed to pay $83.36 a megawatt-hour and New Jersey signed its first contract at $98.10 a megawatt-hour.