Dear Governor Baker, Secretary Theoharides, Undersecretary Chang and Commissioner Woodcock,
We represent a diverse cross-section of civic leaders writing to comment on the forthcoming solicitation for 1600 MW of offshore wind. We appreciate that Massachusetts is taking this step to procure clean energy from off our shores. The winning contract will represent a massive capital investment that will generate local economic opportunity and employment for the next 20+ years. With that in mind, we urge you to significantly weight minority economic participation in the RFP.
We appreciated your Administration’s national leadership in offshore wind with the 2016 Act to Promote Energy Diversity. Massachusetts’ prior two offshore wind contracts with Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind will deliver thousands of jobs and a range of benefits to our economy, our environment and ratepayers. We think Massachusetts has a chance to lead the nation again by centering racial equity in the evaluation criteria for offshore wind project proposals.
When policymakers are creative and determined – and have the support of civic leaders and the private sector – they can co-create the conditions for more equitable outcomes. The so-called “Massport Model” piloted at the Seaport’s Omni Hotel was a striking example of prioritizing minority economic participation in a procurement process. The RFP enabled developers to marshal their resources and creativity to address racial disparities. Diversity was a core element on which they competed and the resulting bids were stronger for this emphasis. We encourage you to use this forthcoming RFP to create a similar competitive dynamic for the offshore wind industry.