ACE MV Gets State Offshore Wind Grant

ACE MV will receive a $65,000 grant for courses and training on basic safety and technical certification in offshore wind development. The grant will also enable offshore wind technician certificates. The grant money is intended to be used in partnership with Bristol Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

The funding stems from a $721,500 grant package announced by the Baker-Polito Administration Friday.

The funding comes just as The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, which is responsible for evaluating energy facilities of scale, approved Vineyard Wind for its 800 megawatt offshore turbine farm.

Six regional training programs are slated to benefit from the grant money.

“The six training programs will lay the groundwork for a broad-based network for offshore wind workforce training in Massachusetts, which will enable Massachusetts workers to secure jobs in offshore wind,” a release states. “The programs will offer basic safety and technical training to internationally-recognized standards and address a diverse mix of workforce training target areas including career introduction courses, and technician and professional certificates while providing targeted support for the Vineyard Wind project and future offshore wind construction. In March 2019, the Massachusetts distribution companies jointly submitted a request for approval of the second Request for Proposals for offshore wind energy with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.”

Bristol Community College received $200,000 to foster basic safety training and basic technical training to Global Wind Organization (GWO) standards.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy received $184,000 “to establish all five modules of GWO basic safety training” and also develop a course called “introduction to offshore wind.”  A crew transfer training facility is expected to be operational at the academy this summer.

Other beneficiaries of grant money are the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Cape Cod Community College, and Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56.

“The offshore wind industry is poised to create new renewable energy jobs, and these programs represent an important development as the Commonwealth readies for the first large-scale project in the nation,” Stephen Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, said in a release. “With Massachusetts’ proud maritime heritage, robust innovation economy and academic and training assets, the state is very well-positioned to grow a workforce that will contribute to this new American industry for years to come.”

Source: https://www.mvtimes.com/

Project Update: Vineyard Wind to Implement UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology Fisheries’ Monitoring Studies

(New Bedford, MA; April 5, 2019) – Vineyard Wind announced today that it will implement recommendations from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) to guide the project’s fisheries monitoring studies during construction, as well as to initiate longer-term studies as part of a regional approach to fisheries studies. SMAST’s recommendations were based on its expertise as a leading fisheries research center as well input from active fishermen, government agencies, and academia.  

SMAST’s studies will begin later this spring. In 2017, Vineyard Wind entered into an agreement with SMAST through which the wind developer asked SMAST to design a broad-based approach to research capable of supporting long-term, regional studies in addition to monitoring of construction impacts.

During the planning phase, SMAST conducted a trial for an innovative “video trawl” system in the wind energy area that was funded by Vineyard Wind. The pilot program facilitated sampling of fish without harvesting, allowing for more efficient selection. SMAST also held four workshops with the region’s fishing industry during November and December to identify priorities for assessments of impacts on fisheries and ecological conditions that are associated with offshore wind development.

Based on input from more than 75 commercial and recreational fishermen who participated in the workshops and input from academics and government resource agencies, SMAST recommended a series of methodologies for fisheries monitoring and research on behalf of the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project, including:

  • Research procedures that encompass an array of species, ranging from fish caught with fixed gear to those caught with trawls to samplings of juvenile life stages

  • Integrated methodologies that will support additional and/or on-going fisheries research

  • Use of a “nested and modular” study design that can be used for both the relatively small area studied during construction monitoring but also utilized effectively for longer-term studies across the wider region  

  • Creation of a standing committee/working group of commercial fishermen to review findings and, if needed, make recommendations based on initial findings while studies are underway

  • Use of local fishermen to provide vessels in support of the studies

The SMAST studies, which are part of a collaborative agreement between the school and Vineyard Wind, seek to further public understanding about the effects of offshore wind development and inform future permitting and public policy decisions regarding wind energy facility siting. The fishing industry has raised important questions about the impacts of offshore wind development on the marine environment and on sea life. The comprehensive research effort by SMAST will help establish a robust body of knowledge to benefit the American offshore wind industry and the fishing community long after the first Vineyard Wind project is completed.

Vineyard Wind was selected in May 2018 to negotiate long-term contracts with Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) for construction of an 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard; these contracts have now been signed and are pending before the Department of Public Utilities for approval. Vineyard Wind remains on schedule to begin on-shore construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021.

The Vineyard Wind project continues to move ahead with public and regulatory review through more than 25 federal, state, and local approval processes. These include US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (federal Environmental Impact Statement), the Army Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, Massachusetts DEP and CZM, the Cape Cod Commission and local conservation commissions.

Vineyard Wind Launches Search for Acoustic Monitoring Systems to Help Safeguard Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

(New Bedford, MA; May 21, 2019) –Vineyard Wind announced today that it is seeking proposals from universities, technology companies and other innovators for implementation of advanced Passive Acoustic Monitoring Systems (PAMS) to be deployed alongside transit routes to the offshore wind area located off the coast of Massachusetts.

This initiative is part of a broader effort to protect the critically-endangered North Atlantic Right Whale during construction and operations of America’s first large-scale offshore wind energy facility and is the direct result of a historic agreement to protect the Right Whale entered into earlier this year between Vineyard Wind, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Vineyard Wind is seeking technology firms or academic institutions to provide and operationalize enhanced acoustic monitoring systems that will detect the presence of Right Whales, and transmit information in real-time to project staff so that enhanced protections can be effectively implemented. The North Atlantic Right Whale ranks among the world’s most endangered whale species, with an estimated 410 remaining.

“Vineyard Wind has two goals with this initiative: First, to ensure best protections for the Right Whale as we go to build and operate the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer for Vineyard Wind. “Our second goal, which is equally important, is to help place the emerging US offshore wind industry on track to deliver the substantial volume of clean, competitive cost energy that our nation needs while expanding protections for this highly endangered whale.”

“For offshore wind power to rise to its full potential as a massive source of clean energy and jobs for America, we need leadership and innovative solutions to ensure that all projects are developed responsibly with strong protections in place for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale,” said Catherine Bowes, Offshore Wind Energy Program Director at the National Wildlife Federation. “We’re very excited about the precedent-setting commitments that Vineyard Wind has made to protect right whales, and look forward to continuing our work together on this and other initiatives needed to advance responsibly developed offshore wind projects in the Atlantic.”

Vineyard Wind expects that the advanced acoustic detection systems provided through this initiative will allow the company, as well as neighboring wind project developers, to receive information about the presence and location of whales so as to ensure that vessel speed restrictions and other protective measures are effectively implemented.  The information gathered is also expected to be useful to scientists studying the Right Whale and other marine mammals, as well as help other mariners avoid impacts on Right Whales. Vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglement are widely reported as being the leading causes of Right Whale mortality.

Vineyard Wind is taking a number of measures to protect the Right Whale beyond the PAMS initiative announced today. Vineyard Wind will also curtail turbine construction during the winter and early spring months when the North Atlantic right whales are in the vicinity, and will be deploying measures to reduce underwater noise during installation of the turbine foundations. Vineyard Wind previously announced a $3 million Wind & Whales Fund to advance marine mammal protections as the offshore wind industry develops along the East Coast, and to support the development of innovative methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals.

Vineyard Wind was selected in May 2018 by Massachusetts electric utilities to provide 800-megawatts (MW) of wind generation capacity from a project located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The project is projected to generate enough electricity to supply 6% of Massachusetts’s electricity usage.

As the project continues to move ahead with public and regulatory review through more than 25 federal, state, and local approval processes, Vineyard Wind remains on track to begin construction in 2019. Once operational in 2021, the Vineyard Wind project will reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads.

Update - BOEM Meetings Postponed

The BOEM Meeting scheduled for January 17, 2019 at the MV Hebrew Center will be postponed due to partial government shutdown.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will postpone public meetings on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind project originally scheduled for January 15-17 in Hyannis, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. In a December 26 notice, BOEM stated the following:

"If the federal government shutdown continues into the morning of January 14, the meetings scheduled for January 15-17 will be rescheduled."

Vineyard Power encourages the public to submit comments online for both the BOEM Draft Environmental Impact Statement as well as the Final Environmental Impact Report submitted to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office. Instructions to submit comment can be found here. BOEM continues to accept online comments during the shutdown.

Permitting process and public comment window

Check this page for the next steps in the Vineyard Wind permitting process, and the latest information about public agency meetings and opportunities for public comment.  For any questions regarding the permitting process, please email Erik at erik@vineyardpower.com.

Many of these documents are available to the public in print form, please click here for a listing of locations.

OVERVIEW

The Vineyard Wind project is subject to permitting, review, and consultations with nearly 30 different agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal, and regional levels.

The lead federal permitting agency is the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Visit BOEM’s webpage for the Vineyard Wind project for further information, and current opportunities to submit comment and public meeting schedule. The detailed project proposal is contained in the Construction and Operations Plan (COP), which is available on this BOEM webpage.

The Vineyard Wind Connector, the transmission cables bringing the clean energy from the turbine area 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard to the New England grid connection point in Barnstable, is subject to approval by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board. In addition, the project is subject to review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act.

Vineyard Wind encourages active participation in the permitting process! Please email us at info@vineyardwind.com if you have any questions or concerns about the permitting process and how you can participate and be heard.

In addition to the formal permitting process, Vineyard Wind staff is continuously meeting with fishermen, local residents and other stakeholders. Visit our community connections page to connect with the right project staff person about any questions or concerns you might have.

UPCOMING PUBLIC AGENCY MEETINGS AND PUBLIC COMMENT

There will be multiple public agency meetings and opportunity to submit public comment. This section shows current information and will be updated throughout the permitting process.

FEDERAL PERMITTING

The United States’ Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a Notice of Availability (NOA) for Vineyard Wind’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS was prepared by BOEM as part of the agency’s review of Vineyard Wind’s proposed 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm to be constructed in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and approximately 34 miles south of the Cape Cod mainland.

The purpose of the review is to ensure the technical accuracy of all aspects of the document and offer an opportunity for the public to comment. You can learn more about BOEM’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process here.

There is a 45 day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project. The public comment period ends January 22, 2019. The public may either comment to in writing or by making oral comments at one of the public meetings. Additional information on Vineyard Wind’s DEIS can be found here.

STATE PERMITTING

On September 5, 2018, Vineyard Wind submitted the project’s Vineyard Wind’s proposal is currently undergoing extensive reviews by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office and the Energy Facilities Siting Board. More information on these permit applications and processes can be found in our Document Room. Future releases or opportunity for public input will be posted here.

Please visit here. for information on the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR).

SUBMIT COMMENTS NOW

FEDERAL:

BOEM has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that describes the project’s effects on the environment. You may submit written comments on the DEIS until January 22, 2019 through the following methods:

  • Using the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box, enter BOEM-2018-0069, and then click "search." Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this notice.

  • In written form, deliver by hand or by mail: Enclose comments in an envelope labeled “Vineyard Wind COP Draft EIS" and provide to the following address: Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time.

STATE:

Vineyard Wind has submitted its Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office.

Public comment to the FEIR should be submitted by January 25, 2019.

         Mr. Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs
         Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
         MEPA Office Purvi Patel, EEA No. 15787 (Vineyard Wind Connector)
         100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
         Boston, MA 02114

Upcoming Public Meetings and Public Comment Windows

The United States’ Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it will issue a Notice of Availability (NOA) for Vineyard Wind’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS.) The DEIS was prepared by BOEM as part of the agency’s review of Vineyard Wind’s proposed 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm to be constructed in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and approximately 34 miles south of the Cape Cod mainland.

What is the BOEM’s Draft EIS?

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is a draft document that describes the project’s effects on the environment. The purpose of the review is to ensure the technical accuracy of all aspects of the document and offer an opportunity for the public to comment. You can learn more about BOEM’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process here.

What type of comments does BOEM consider?

Environmental concerns that commonly arise include:

  • Ecological concerns such as the possible impacts of development on marine mammals

  • Sociological concerns such as changes in population or demands for public transportation, education, or health care services.

  • Economic concerns often center on marine-related employment

When can the public provide comments?

There is a 45 day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project.  The public comment period ends January 21, 2019.  The public may either comment to in writing or by making oral comments at one of the public meetings. Additional information on Vineyard Wind’s DEIS can be found at BOEM’s website.

How do I submit comments?

You may submit written comments on the DEIS through the following methods:

  • Using the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box, enter BOEM-2018-0069, and then click "search." Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this notice.

  • In written form, deliver by hand or by mail: Enclose comments in an envelope labeled “Vineyard Wind COP Draft EIS" and provide to the following address:

Program Manager
Office of Renewable Energy
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time.

Public Meetings

Public meetings will be held during the comment period at the following times and locations.  Please note these meetings are not hearings.  It is not necessary to attend a meeting to provide comment, and any comments received during a meeting will be treated by BOEM the same as comments made in writing per the directions above.

New Bedford, Massachusetts
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
New Bedford Whaling Museum,
18 Johnny Cake Hill
New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Hyannis, Massachusetts
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Double Tree Hotel, Cape Cod Room
287 Iyannough Road
Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center
130 Center Street
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

9th Annual Membership Meeting

This annual event is an opportunity to celebrate the Coop's achievements and meet with fellow co-op members, our staff, current and newly elected board members.

Vineyard Power Co-operative's 9th Annual Membership Meeting will be held at the following date and time:

Date: Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Time: 5:30-7:00pm

Location: Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs.

Drinks and light snacks will be served.

The newly elected directors will be introduced at the Annual Members Meeting on November 28, 2018.

EV Car Day - All EV's are welcomed!

Electric Vehicle Plug-In Day is sponsored by Vineyard Power and hosted by the Oak Bluffs Library

 

When: Saturday, September 8th

Time: 10:00am to 1:00pm 

Where: Oak Bluffs Library - Back Parking Lot

 

Highlights of the day include:

  • Tours of an all electric bus, courtesy of the VTA
  • Information about tax credits and EV benefits
  • Learn about easy set up charging stations
  • EV test drives including cars and bikes
  • Cape Light Compact will also be in attendance with information about their energy efficiency programs
  • Giveaways and more!

All EV car owners are welcomed and test drives will be available so please help spread the word!


Click on the following link to register for a test drive, the first 5 people to sign up get a Vineyard Wind hat:

 

TEST DRIVE FORM

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STATE SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES ‘AN ACT TO PROMOTE A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE’

Cyr successfully proposes three amendments to the bill, including the ‘Community Empowerment’ proposal championed by Martha’s Vineyard residents

(Boston, MA) - Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Mike Barrett. This legislation represents a firm stand by the Senate to ensure a healthier, cleaner Commonwealth for future generations of Massachusetts residents. Most importantly, the policies enacted in this legislation will have measurable benefits in the health of the global environment.

This legislation is a forward looking plan that prepares Massachusetts for the inevitable obstacles that will come with climate change. The policies and programs will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse emissions, implement a price on carbon, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy.

During Thursday’s Senate debate on S.2545, state Senator Julian Cyr offered a “Community Empowerment” amendment (amendment #22, which was unanimously adopted) that would allow municipalities the ability to enter into long-term renewable energy contracts, and provide financing for such projects, on behalf of their residents and businesses.  Before entering into any contract, the municipality must have the support of the community through a democratic process, such as a town meeting vote, followed by a public process to choose the renewable energy project, which would include either boards of selectmen, town councils and/or the community electric aggregator.  Once the renewable energy project is operational, electricity customers in that municipality would see savings on their bills.

“For many of us who live in coastal communities, earlier this year we witnessed extreme weather caused by carbon emissions that have fueled global warming. By passing this bill the Senate provided the leadership needed to fight climate change, while simultaneously addressing our state’s energy needs,” said Senator Cyr (D-Truro). “The Community Empowerment amendment, a homegrown concept conceived by constituents on Martha’s Vineyard, will give towns the power they need to finance, build and receive the benefits of renewable energy projects – a meaningful step forward in the region’s fight against climate change.”

“Vineyard Power Cooperative and their membership are appreciative to Senator Cyr and his staff for their leadership and execution in achieving this milestone and getting this legislation passed in the Senate. We believe in the power of local choice and local empowerment that enables our community to take control of our energy future and will help ensure our community vision of being carbon neutral in home heating, transportation, and domestic electricity by 2050. This is a big win for not only our local island community, who is sitting in the front row to see the effects of climate change and sea level rise, but also for the region and for the Commonwealth,” said Erik Peckar, General Manager of Vineyard Power, the organization who helped craft the language and has been a primary advocate for the bill.

Vineyard Power Invites you to Celebrate on June 18th at The Wharf Pub

Vineyard Power would like to invite you to celebrate the recent news that our partner, Vineyard Wind, was chosen to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States. 

This is a big step towards Vineyard Power's mission to produce electricity from local, renewable resources while advocating for and keeping the benefits within our island community.

Details: 
Monday, June 18th at 4:30-6:30pm.  
The Wharf Restaurant and Pub  3 Main St., Edgartown

This event will be open to all members, family and friends. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

No RSVP is required, just drop by, even for a quick hello!

Vineyard Power Partner, Vineyard Wind Selected to Negotiate Contracts to Deliver Clean Offshore Wind Power to Massachusetts Electricity Customers

Commonwealth selects Vineyard Wind as a preferred solution in clean energy solicitation

Vineyard Wind, which seeks to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Massachusetts Electric Distribution Companies (EDCs) that the company’s proposed 800 megawatt (MW) wind farm and electricity transmission project will advance as a preferred solution in the Massachusetts Green Communities Act Section 83C RFP for offshore wind energy projects.

“Vineyard Wind is proud to be selected to lead the new Massachusetts offshore wind industry into the future,” said Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “Today’s announcement reflects the strong commitment to clean energy by Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature. We are grateful for the time and commitment shown by many stakeholders, including Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. All parties successfully guided the state’s electric distribution companies in carrying forth the requirements of a clean energy law that assures significant benefits for every resident in Massachusetts. We look forward to working with the Commonwealth, the communities of the Cape, Islands, and South Coast, and all stakeholders in together fully realizing the enormous opportunity of offshore wind.”

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE:AGR) which is majority owned by Iberdrola S.A., and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) each of which own 50 percent of Vineyard Wind.

“Vineyard Wind’s partners are eager to deliver an offshore wind project that will provide the Commonwealth with abundant clean energy resources for decades to come,” said Laura Beane, President and CEO of Avangrid Renewables. “Today’s announcement serves to further illustrate the AVANGRID companies’ commitment to deliver value and opportunity in a region that is determined to address complex energy challenges through significant investments in clean energy infrastructure.  Avangrid Renewables is excited to play a substantial role in the Vineyard Wind joint venture, which is poised to support hundreds of Operations and Maintenance jobs and create thousands of construction jobs while launching an exciting new industry in Massachusetts.”

“The Vineyard Wind team is honored to be chosen to provide clean wind energy for communities across Massachusetts,” said Torsten Lodberg Smed, Senior Partner with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. “CIP is committed to continue to move forward with our plan to make Vineyard Wind the first operational large-scale offshore wind project in the United States. Backed by the proven global leadership of our joint venture partners in the global and domestic offshore wind sector across three continents, our team will deliver a utility-scale offshore wind project that will stimulate tremendous economic development opportunity on Cape Cod, the Islands and the South Coast.”

Under Massachusetts law, the selection of Vineyard Wind by the EDCs and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) allows all parties to begin negotiations to secure all necessary transmission services and power purchase agreements to facilitate the delivery of offshore wind electricity to Massachusetts customers. Once satisfactory contract terms are secured, those documents will be submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for formal review as set forth in the in the 83C process.

Vineyard Wind is the only offshore wind farm developer to begin both the state and federal permitting processes by filing an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) and Construction and Operations plan in December 2017. Vineyard Wind’s early timeline was designed to maximize the abundant environmental, economic and energy benefits associated with utility-scale wind energy for Bay State residents and businesses. Vineyard Wind will continue to refine the project design and approach as it receives additional comments from regulators and stakeholders. Vineyard Wind received a significant volume of substantive and productive comments from the fishing industry, residents on Cape Cod and the Islands, environmental organizations, as well as regional economic and community-based stakeholders, during the initial ENF comment period. 

Vineyard Wind has been especially focused on receiving input from the fishing industry and has already held more than 100 meetings with fishermen or fishing organizations since 2016. Input from those meetings is reflected within the project design as part of a broad-based effort to ensure that offshore wind facilities and the fishing sector thrive together in the decades ahead. 

With passage of An Act to Promote Energy Diversity in 2016, Massachusetts required the state’s EDCs to procure 1,600 megawatts (MW) of clean, offshore wind energy within the next decade, resulting in intense competition among offshore wind lease holders for long-term contracts with utilities in Massachusetts. The addition of 1,600 MW of low-carbon wind generation capacity will provide enough clean, homegrown energy to power the equivalent of more than 750,000 Massachusetts homes every year. 

Vineyard Wind recently took another significant step in its effort to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States by submitting the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) with state regulators. The filing advances the company’s proposal to construct an 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard while maintaining Vineyard Wind’s early timetable to begin construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021. When completed, the Vineyard Wind project will reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads.

Vineyard Wind’s proposal committed $15 million to three initiatives designed to make Massachusetts the center of the American offshore wind industry. The commitment includes a $10 million Wind Accelerator Fund to accelerate the development of an offshore wind supply chain, businesses, and infrastructure in the Bay State by attracting investments to upgrade or create necessary facilities and/or infrastructure. The $2 million Windward Workforce program will recruit, mentor, and train residents of Massachusetts, particularly southeast Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands, for careers in the Commonwealth’s new offshore wind as part of an effort to build a skilled offshore wind workforce centered in southeastern Massachusetts. The $3 million Marine Mammals and Wind Fund will fund development and demonstration of innovative methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals as the offshore wind industry continues to grow.

VINEYARD WIND AND VINEYARD POWER UNVEIL OFFSHORE WIND OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE CENTER IN VINEYARD HAVEN

"Green” ribbon-cutting ceremony follows recent Vineyard Wind announcement of $2 million “Windward Workforce” fund to recruit and train MA residents for offshore wind sector careers

                                                                            April 10, 2018

                                                                            April 10, 2018

 
Offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind, and its community development partner Vineyard Power Cooperative, today formally announced Vineyard Wind’s proposed Offshore Wind Operation & Maintenance facility, located on the working waterfront in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. 


Once operational, Vineyard Wind’s Offshore Wind Operation & Maintenance center is expected to employ up to 40 people while providing the island community with economic diversification and with additional resources to address climate change, ocean acidification and coastal erosion.   


At the event, Vineyard Power also announced a partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Adult Community Education MV and local community colleges for offshore wind career job training and education. The “blue economy” partnership will be developed through support from Vineyard Wind’s “Windward Workforce” fund, a $2 million initiative designed to help recruit, mentor, and train Massachusetts residents for careers in the Commonwealth’s new offshore wind industry.  


“Vineyard Wind is committed to ongoing collaborations with community-based organizations on important issues of shared interest,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer with Vineyard Wind. “Alliances like our partnership with Vineyard Power ensure that coastal communities will directly benefit from the abundant clean energy and related economic activity that is associated with offshore wind generation.” 


“Vineyard Power Cooperative and Vineyard Wind have built a strong relationship on the principle of delivering value and benefits of renewable energy development to local communities,” said Vineyard Power’s President Richard Andre. “Since signing the nation’s first Community Benefit Agreement for offshore wind development with our organization in 2015, Vineyard Wind has continued to value local relationships while supporting related community-focused renewable energy initiatives such as the Cooperative’s work to develop solar and energy storage projects.” For more information about Vineyard Wind visit www.vineyardwind.com.


Local elected officials, business owners, civic leaders and representatives from the island’s energy community joined with Vineyard Power Cooperative to celebrate the“green” ribbon-cutting ceremony Vineyard Wind’s partnership with community-based non-profits provides a strong model for the offshore wind sector to ensure that the economic and environmental benefits created by the offshore wind sector are delivered to local towns and cities,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro.) “Specifically, I’m excited to see that Vineyard Wind is committed to working with Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and local community colleges for job education and training.  This effort will provide the necessary skills and know-how to ensure that local residents will continue to benefit from future offshore wind projects and the year-round jobs will be a boost to Martha’s Vineyard economy.” 


“As a millennial, I understand that the most significant issue facing my generation and our children’s generation is the profound negative impacts associated with climate change,” said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth.) “Vineyard Wind is poised to develop the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project, sending a clear message that Massachusetts can produce clean, cost-effective electricity without the deleterious environmental impacts created by fossil-fueled energy generation.” 

 

 

UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS

PERMITTING

Check this page for the next steps in our partner Vineyard Wind's permitting process, and the latest information about public agency meetings and opportunities for public comment.

Overview

The Vineyard Wind project is subject to permitting, review, and consultations with nearly 30 different agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal, and regional levels. 

The lead federal permitting agency is the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  Visit BOEM’s webpage for the Vineyard Wind project for further information, and current opportunities to submit comment and public meeting schedule.  The detailed project proposal is contained in the Construction and Operations Plan (COP), which is available on this BOEM webpage.

The Vineyard Wind Connector, the transmission cables bringing the clean energy from the turbine area 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard to the New England grid connection point in Barnstable, is subject to approval by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board.  In addition, the project is subject to review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act.

Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Power encourages active participation in the permitting process!  Please email us at info@vineyardwind.com if you have any questions or concerns about the permitting process and how you can participate and be heard.

In addition to the formal permitting process, Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Power staff are continuously meeting with fishermen, local residents and other stakeholders.  Visit our community connections page to connect with the right project staff person about any questions or concerns you might have.

Upcoming Public Agency Meetings and Public Comment Windows

There will be multiple public agency meetings and opportunity to submit public comment.  This section shows current information and will be updated throughout the permitting process. 

FEDERAL PERMITTING

BOEM has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project proposal, and is now taking public comment as to what issues and information should be addressed in the EIS (“scoping”).  Below are BOEM’s public scoping meeting schedule and how to submit comment on the project.

Monday, April 16, 2018 - New Bedford
Fairfield Inn and Suites Waypoint Event Center, Sealoft Room,
185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center
130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket Middle School, Cafeteria
10 Surfside Road, Nantucket, Massachusetts 02554
Open House 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - Hyannis
Double Tree Hotel, Cape Cod Room
287 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601
Open House 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 19, 2018  - Kingston, Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island, Ryan Center, Alumni Lounge
1 Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

Important Note: You can submit comment even if you can’t attend a meeting!  The public can submit comment on this stage of the federal process up until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, April 30.  All comments are treated the same and will be addressed, regardless of whether submitted at a meeting or by one of the methods below.  Comments and other submissions of information may be submitted by either of the following two methods:

  1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the entry titled “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter BOEM-2018-0015, and then click “search.” Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this notice. 
  2. U.S. Postal Service or other delivery service. Send your comments and information to the following address: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, 45600 Woodland Road (VAM-OREP), Sterling, Virginia 20166

 

STATE PERMITTING

The Energy Facilities Siting Board will hold its first public hearing and take public comment on the Vineyard Wind Connector:

April 24, 2018 - 7:00 p.m. - Hyannis - Barnstable High School, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis, 02601

Important Note: You can submit comment even if you can’t attend a meeting!  The Siting Board (and Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Power) encourages and will accept written comments. Written comments may be submitted to the Siting Board at the public comment hearing or filed with the Siting Board by May 8, 2018 by email or email attachment to: (1) dpu.efiling@state.ma.us and (2) kathryn.sedor@state.ma.us. Alternatively, written comments may be sent by U.S. mail to M. Kathryn Sedor, Esq., Energy Facilities Siting Board, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110.

Vineyard Power Collaborates on Resiliency and Affordability Fund to Benefit Residents and Communities on Islands

Partnership with Vineyard Wind will enable lower electricity bills for low-income residents, fund community-based energy storage projects

(March 29, 2018) – Vineyard Power Cooperative and offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind today formally announced a Resiliency and Affordability Fund that will contribute $1 million in annual funding for 15 years to provide substantial and self-sustaining low-income and community benefits to towns that host the off-shore wind project.

The Vineyard Wind Resiliency and Affordability Fund will fund distributed battery energy storage and solar projects in local communities as well as provide dollar credits directly to low-income ratepayers’ electric utility bills. Projects supported by the Fund will be implemented on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as well as New Bedford, Barnstable and Yarmouth and across Bristol County. Projects will include solar and energy storage projects and will demonstrate how decentralized battery energy storage will enhance reliability as Massachusetts continues to expand renewable energy resources such as offshore wind.

“Vineyard Power Cooperative and Vineyard Wind continue to build their strong relationship founded on the principle of delivering value and benefits of renewable energy development to local communities”, said Vineyard Power’s President Richard Andre. “Vineyard Wind recognizes the value and importance of working with local organizations and signed the nation’s first Community Benefit Agreement for offshore wind development with our organization in 2015.  The Cooperative is looking forward to developing community-focused solar and energy storage projects and to progress the Commonwealth’s battery storage and renewable energy initiatives.”

“Vineyard Wind deeply appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with community-based organizations on important issues of shared interest,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer with Vineyard Wind. “This local partnership approach is what enables Vineyard Wind to quickly deliver on the large amount of clean energy  generation and job creation that we all want for our region, and coastal communities in particular.”

The Fund will deliver significant and on-going benefits to these communities in the form of bill-credits for low-income residents’ electricity bills, and back-up power and cost savings for public buildings.  Vineyard Wind’s first contribution to the Fund is planned for 2019, once construction of the offshore wind project begins; the project will be the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the US. 

Direct benefits of the Resiliency and Affordability Fund include:

·       Distributed battery energy storage that enhance systems reliability and resiliency through community-based deployment of distributed battery energy storage

·       Community benefits in New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable, Yarmouth and other communities in Bristol County through funding for energy storage and solar projects that provide back-up power and energy cost savings for public buildings

·       Ratepayer relief in communities hosting the Vineyard Wind project in the form of bill-credits for low-income residents

The Fund will be administered by, and projects implemented by Vineyard Power and Citizens Energy, a non-profit that will draw on nearly 40 years’ experience in energy efficiency work, renewable energy development, and low-income energy assistance programs..  An advisory committee, composed of representatives from each of the host communities, will help identify new project opportunities and guide funding decisions.

Vineyard Wind to Undertake Third Round of Marine Surveys in Wind Farm Project Area Beginning in Early April

Research campaign of geological and marine habitats off Massachusetts coast continues to gather important ecological information as part of permitting review

Please read our latest Notice to Mariners here. 

Vineyard Wind will begin the third in an ongoing series of undersea marine surveys in early April to gather geological and ecological information that will inform ongoing permitting reviews. Information collected includes water depths, geology of sea floor, benthic habitat types as well as the presence of shellfish, eelgrass, and other species.

Areas to be surveyed by way of video surveys, seafloor sampling, sonar, and boring samples include routes under consideration for submarine cables, including Lewis Bay, as well as the wind turbine area 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Surveying is planned through guidance and consultation with local, state, federal regulators, including Yarmouth and Barnstable shellfish constables, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries, as well as environmental groups.

Survey operations will begin after April 2nd and will continue into the summer. This will be the third survey campaign undertaken by Vineyard Wind and the most extensive offshore study to date for the project. Earlier campaigns were conducted in 2016 and 2017. Additional follow-on studies will be conducted after completion of this campaign, including pre-, during-, and post-construction fisheries and benthic studies.

Surveys will involve at least six different vessels operated by at least three different companies and will include a shellfish survey in Lewis Bay. Vessels will work offshore continuously, with port operations planned out of New Bedford, Hyannis, and Vineyard Haven. Formal “Notices to Mariners” for survey work will be communicated through all appropriate official channels, including the Coast Guard and Department of Defense. Vineyard Wind also will continue to conduct extensive outreach to the fishing industry to ensure coordination. Vessels using towed gear or boring equipment will be crewed by observers who watch for marine mammals and other protected species. Survey operations may be halted at times in an abundance of caution to protect certain marine animals.

In December, Vineyard Wind became the first of several competing projects to apply for federal and state construction permits by submitting applications with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ Energy Facilities Siting Board.

Following the passage of  An Act to Promote Energy Diversity in 2016, Massachusetts required the state’s electric distribution companies to procure 1,600 megawatts (MW) of clean, offshore wind energy within the next decade, resulting in robust interest by developers to participate in the procurement process for long-term offshore wind contracts. The addition of 1,600 MW of low-carbon wind generation capacity will provide enough clean, homegrown energy to power the equivalent of more than 750,000 Massachusetts homes every year. 

Offshore Wind Visualization Simulation

Vineyard Power is hosting an open house visual simulation viewing of Vineyard Wind's (www.vineyardwind.com) proposed offshore wind farm - located 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. 

This will be an opportunity to view what the Vineyard Wind project will look like, simulated from a variety of locations from the southern shore of Martha's Vineyard

Open House - Visual Simulation Date & Time:

Thursday, March 22, 2018
5:30pm - 7:30pm

Vineyard Power Office
517 State Road in Vineyard Haven

Parking located at the Vineyard Power office with overflow parking at the Black Dog Cafe.

If you're interested, please RSVP to erik@vineyardpower.com.

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A call to action, a message from our Chairman

The Vineyard Power Co-op was born out a long-range energy plan for the island. Locally-produced energy, like local food, makes sense to us. Standing up, getting involved, shaping the future of our energy makes sense to us.

We have a role, and we want more people to have one, too. From 2010 - 2015, the Co-op worked with island towns and officials to guide the U.S. government in identifying areas of the ocean that would be available for wind farms.  

The Co-op continues to put an island imprint on the development plans for offshore wind, including gathering members' suggestions to name one of the projects for the Vineyard.  

Including getting that project to commit to putting the permanent operations and maintenance facility in Vineyard Haven harbor, and a goal of 100% of that staff being Martha's Vineyard residents within five years of the project being operational.

Now our partners in the development of Vineyard Wind have begun the public permitting process with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There are initial forms and descriptions of the project available for review, and for comment.

Now is the time, though not the only time, to make comments about the assessment of environmental impact, about the studies needed, and alternatives or mitigation. This is our opportunity to shape the energy future that makes sense to us.

The Vineyard Wind project is an opportunity to approve and build a significant reduction in gas-burning and CO2 emissions, and will be a very tangible demonstration of our commitment and resolve.

This initial Massachusetts' review applies to the underwater and underground cables to connect the wind farm to the mainland transmission grid. The cables are planned for Massachusetts waters and land, in carefully selected routes. All cables will be securely buried using proven installation techniques.

On the Cape there will be some short term disturbance to residents along the land cable routes, which will be minimized by proper construction scheduling, and traffic management. Affected streets will be restored to "like new" condition. Any temporary local inconvenience should be weighed against the important and large-scale societal benefits of the project.

The first Environmental Notification Forms (ENF) now filed with Massachusetts will lead to more review at the state, local and Federal levels.   

We are asking you, our members for letters of support for the state review.  

Please show your support with a letter emailed to the MEPA  

Analyst (Purvi Patel) at purvi.patel@state.ma.us by January 30, 2018 (reference EEA No. 15787 in subject line) or U.S. mail to:

Secretary Matthew A. Beaton
Attn: MEPA Office, Purvi Patel
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA, 02114

To learn more about the ENF filing or to read the document please visit the Vineyard Wind website by clicking here

Project Update: MEPA Environmental Review of Vineyard Wind Begins

Offshore wind energy project first in Mass. Clean Energy solicitation to undergo state review

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office has begun an environmental review of the proposed Vineyard Wind Connector transmission project. The review is yet another step forward for Vineyard Wind’s proposal to construct a large, utility-scale wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts, with in-state construction to begin in 2019.

Vineyard Wind’s accelerated timeline positions the project to become the first commercial large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, which will soon deliver significant economic development and clean energy benefits to residents and businesses in the Commonwealth.

State and local regulatory review of the Vineyard Wind Connector project, a buried and submarine electric transmission project which will provide grid connection for offshore wind turbines located over 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, will be undertaken by a number of state and local agencies and boards in addition to the MEPA review.  These regulatory reviews and approvals include the Conservation Commission and Planning Boards of the Towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth as well as the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The MEPA review process began with public consultative sessions in Boston and Hyannis, as well as a site visit in Barnstable and Yarmouth, on Monday, January 8th. The meetings and site visit follow Vineyard Wind’s filing of an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) and permit application on December 15, 2017. The consultation sessions and site visit conducted by the MEPA office were undertaken to gather public comment and agency input for MEPA’s use in developing a Scope for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The review will include a Mandatory Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) by Vineyard Wind, and opportunity for public comment to the Final EIR. 

The proposed Vineyard Wind Connector is comprised of subsea and subsurface electrical transmission lines and a new substation that will connect the Vineyard Wind generation project to the Massachusetts electric grid. 

The Vineyard Wind offshore wind turbine array, located in the federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and approximately 34 miles south of the Cape Cod mainland, calls for a grid connection point to an existing substation in an industrial park in Barnstable with no changes to the existing electrical transmission. Vineyard Wind has stipulated that solid dielectric cables will be buried for their entire length and that transformers and other electrical equipment at the new substation will be underlain by full volume, impervious containment systems. 

MEPA will accept written comment on the ENF until January 16, 2018. Copies of the ENF are available at public libraries and town government offices in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mashpee, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

In addition to MEPA review, the Vineyard Wind project will face substantial public review through over 25 federal, state, and local approval processes, including from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (federal Environmental Impact Statement), the Army Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, Massachusetts DEP and CZM, the Cape Cod Commission and local conservation commissions.

Vineyard Wind also continues to engage in active conversations with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.

To view the MEPA filing please visit Vineyard Wind's website by clicking here.