EVERSOURCE ENERGY, eager to exit the offshore wind business, said on Monday it has found a buyer for its stake in three wind farms in various stages of development.
Joe Nolan, the president and CEO of Eversource, said he expects 2024 to be the year when the company moves away from its foray into offshore wind and focuses all of its attention on its regulated utility businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
“I feel very confident that 2024 is our year for a transition to a clean, pure, regulated utility seeking singles and doubles and keeping everyone on this call very comfortable,” he told the financial analysts listening in on a third quarter earnings call.
Eversource officials did not disclose the name of the potential buyer, but said they have worked out the details of the sale of the company’s 50 percent stake in two of the three wind farm projects – South Fork Wind off of New York and Revolution Wind off of Rhode Island. The officials said the potential buyer is now working out an arrangement with Orsted, which owns the remaining 50 percent of the projects.
Both Orsted and Eversource have recently written down the value of their offshore wind business ventures, reflecting the uncertainty in the market because of rising interest rates, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine. Eversource’s write-down was for $331 million in the second quarter of the year.
The status of the third Orsted-Eversource project, Sunrise Wind off the coast of New York, is up in the air. Eversource and Orsted had been counting on simply revising with state regulators a previously negotiated power purchase agreement for the project, but the New York Public Service Commission ruled an entirely new offshore wind procurement was needed.
Eversource had hoped to name a buyer for its stake in the wind farm projects in the second quarter. The decision in New York is likely to mean more delays for Eversource in unloading its stakes in the wind farm projects, but Nolan said it’s possible a deal could be worked out soon for South Fork and Revolution Wind while putting off a Sunrise Wind deal until after the New York procurement is completed.
Nolan said he believes Sunrise will win the New York procurement and the wind farm will be operational by late 2025. “Given the maturity of Sunrise, in terms of the siting, permitting, and early construction, this project is best positioned to win the RFP,” he said. “We feel very good about it. We feel it’s a winner.”
Asked if the power price for Sunrise Wind would go up in the coming procurement, stay the same, or go down, Nolan declined to comment.
For the third quarter, Eversource reported earnings of $339.7 million, down slightly from the $349.4 million it reported for the same quarter last year. For the first nine months of the year, earnings totaled $846.2 million, compared with earnings of $1.084 billion in 2022.