Commitment to Deliver Offshore Wind Farm but with Revised Schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Delay caused by Department of the Interior’s decision to review potential cumulative impacts of all future American offshore wind farms, before approving the first

(New Bedford, MA; August 12, 2019) – Vineyard Wind today announced that company shareholders have affirmed a commitment to deliver a proposed 800-megawatt (MW) wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, albeit with a delayed project schedule. This decision follows the August 9th determination by the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) to significantly delay publication of the Vineyard Wind 1 project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and to instead undertake a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement process. In public statements, the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has indicated the supplemental process is needed to examine the effects from the many offshore wind projects that are expected to follow development of the Vineyard Wind project.

“We are very proud of the Vineyard Wind team’s achievements so far and we are disappointed not to deliver the project on the timeline we had anticipated,” said Lars Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “We were less than four months away from launching a new industry in the United States, so we thank the more than 50 US companies already awarded a contract or currently bidding on contracts, the financial institutions engaged in raising more than $2 billion in capital, and the first-class, global contractors that have joined us in planning for the first large-scale offshore wind farm in America. We remain committed to delivering that ambitious target and would like to thank Governor Baker, the Massachusetts legislature and our bipartisan backers in Congress led by the Bay State delegation for their collective support and courage in driving this industry forward.”

“We appreciate all the support and hard work from our community partners, from the Vineyard to Barnstable, to New Bedford, to the labor unions and environmental groups,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer. “We want to assure each of them that we remain committed to moving this project forward as quickly as circumstances allow, and realizing the many benefits that were so close at hand before federal regulators announced their decision.”

Publication of the FEIS was one of the final steps for Vineyard Wind 1 in the federal permitting process, representing an important milestone to cap a comprehensive public and regulatory review process that began in 2017, and had since been targeted for completion by August 16th.  The review process has encompassed evaluation by more than 25 federal, state, and local regulatory agencies and commissions. 

Vineyard Wind has not yet received any documentation as to the requirements for the expanded analysis that BOEM indicated in a public statement issued on August 9th. However, it is clear that the timing of such an analysis is not compatible with the original timeline that has been communicated to Vineyard Wind since March 2018, which Vineyard Wind used to build its delivery schedule. With this development, the shareholders must revise the project as the original timeline is no longer feasible.

Vineyard Wind will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including our contractors, policy makers, and many supporters, to evaluate options for delivering the project at a later time. Permitting of the Vineyard Wind Connector, the cable connection from the project site to the regional grid, will continue as planned in advance of the revised project. Vineyard Wind will also use the delay to further improve the project and enhance its many benefits, to the extent feasible.

With 3,600 jobs, a $2.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, contracts with shipyards in the Gulf Coast and the northeast and much more hanging in the balance, Vineyard Wind represents an immediate opportunity to share the benefits of American offshore wind development with ratepayers and blue-collar workers. The Vineyard Wind project will reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads, once operational. Vineyard Wind’s commitment to protection of marine habitats includes a historic agreement to protect the Right Whale between the project, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Vineyard Wind has contributed significantly to the new US offshore energy industry’s momentum that has grown in recent years to create thousands of new, well-paying jobs, and this drive will now be slowed, diluting significant opportunities. However, Vineyard Wind will continue to work with other U.S. offshore wind developers to help confront the challenge to this nascent offshore energy industry, and urge adoption of a reasonable, productive regulatory approach that integrates analyses for individual projects in a deliberate and coherent fashion.

Since filing its Construction and Operations Plan (COP) with BOEM, Vineyard Wind’s efforts have been informed by Executive Order 13807, issued by the Trump Administration in August 2017, which created the One Federal Decision (OFD) policy. As the first privately proposed major energy infrastructure project subject to OFD, state and federal regulators worked closely with Vineyard Wind to ensure that efficient permitting of the project would feature a clear, transparent and coordinated timeline established by DOI to finalize environmental reviews and authorization decisions. 

With that approach, Vineyard Wind remains the most advanced offshore wind project in the United States with a robust supply chain in place and ready to move forward, as well as key permits and approvals from:

  • Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB, an independent state board responsible for review of proposed large energy facilities) 

  • Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office 

  • Cape Cod Commission

  • Town of Barnstable, MA 

  • Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Commission

  • Nantucket Conservation Commission 

In April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved long-term power purchase contracts between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) for the delivery of clean, affordable offshore wind energy by January 2022.

Inaugural Vineyard Wind scholars complete STEM program

S.T.E.M. program benefitted 7th graders from Cape, Islands and South Coast with summer camp experience that emphasized academics and hands-on maritime projects

(New Bedford, MA; July 27, 2019) – Twelve local students from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and South Coast communities graduated from the summertime Advanced Studies & Leadership Program (ASLP) Science/Technology/Engineering/Math Course (STEM Course) yesterday as the inaugural class of Vineyard Wind Scholarship recipients.

The Vineyard Wind Scholarships sponsored full tuition and related expenses for the three-week resident summer camp at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The program is designed to encourage minority and female students to pursue STEM professions and career opportunities. Based on academic achievement and financial need, Vineyard Wind Scholarships were awarded to 7th grade scholars from Barnstable (2), Dartmouth (2), Falmouth (2), Martha’s Vineyard (1), New Bedford (2) and Wareham (3.)

Vineyard Wind Scholarships offer residents from the Cape, Islands and South Coast an opportunity to gain access to educational opportunities with the goal of encouraging access to the burgeoning American offshore wind industry while young inspiring them to pursue full-time careers in the wind energy sector or in related fields. Vineyard Wind Scholarships are funded by the company with the goal of recruiting, mentoring, and training local residents for high-skills careers in America’s newest job-creating industry. 

As the first-in-the-nation commercial scale offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind has made a strong commitment to support offshore wind technical training and career development programs, including a separate $2 million Wind Workforce initiative undertaken in partnership with vocational schools, community colleges, and other local organizations. Vineyard Wind’s activities are part of broader efforts to attract billions of dollars of private investment with the goal of diversifying and growing the region’s ocean economy through modernization of local ports, new services such as transport vessels, ongoing research offshore, and skilled workforce training needed to build and operate wind farm facilities.

With the availability of Vineyard Wind’s scholarships, the Cape Cod Collaborative and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy were able to expand ASLP recruitment to include school districts in the South Coast region. More than 200 middle school students from Cape Cod, the Islands, and the South Coast participated in ASLP this year based on MCAS scores, teacher recommendations, and academic achievements.

Students participated a series of classroom and hands-on study activities that featured demonstrations and interactive work with world class technology and state-of-the-art science labs. Course offerings included “Power Engineering and Renewable Energy,”“Navigation and Shiphandling,” “Use of Remotely Operated Vehicles in Oceanography,” “Marine Science of Cape Cod,” and “Emergency Management”. 

ACE MV Introduces Offshore Wind Power Technician Certificate Program

Just as you are gearing up for summer ACE MV is gearing up for fall classes!  

ACE MV has entered into an exciting new partnership with Bristol Community College [BCC] to introduce our new Offshore Wind Power Technician Certification Program. This is a pioneer program supporting a brand new industry for the region and will provide employment opportunities for our Island workforce. Financial aid may be available for applicants who successfully complete the program.
 
In addition to our Offshore Wind Power Technician Certificate Program we are welcoming back, by popular demand, our ONE-YEAR Business Administration Program. ONE-YEAR is designed to provide students with a strong academic foundation in core business functions over the course of one academic year. Courses include Introduction to Business, Principles of Management, Introduction to Marketing, Driving Success with Business Communication, Design Thinking for Managers, Basic Bookkeeping and Accounting, QuickBooks, and Introduction to Finance. Courses may be taken individually or students may preselect any 6 courses at a reduced rate. Other ACE MV business-related coursesinclude Business Improv, Sketchup, Excel I for Beginners, and Diagnosing & Maintaining Your PC.  We will also be offering a 3-dayIntroduction to WordPress workshop on August 13, 14, and 15 from 6-8pm. Each of our instructors has designed a curriculum to ensure your classroom experience is rich and rewarding.
 
We are also well underway with our “M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching” in partnership with Fitchburg State University. Building off the success of our first M.Ed. program, this hybrid program offers our island teachers an opportunity to earn their M.Ed. and pursue their professional license to teach without leaving the island. Any island teacher or teacher-type is invited to register for any of our M.Ed. courses that are offered on the island. Courses include Curriculum Design and Development beginning July 3rd, Literacy Across the Curriculum beginning this fall, Cultural Competency in the Classroom beginning spring of 2020, and Social and Emotional Health beginning summer 2020. Students may take these courses for 3 credits or for non-credit, which is equal to 12.5 PDPs.

For those with a technical training bent, ACE MV will be offering a 2A/1C Hoisting Renewal and License Prep Course in September. This course will teach you how to operate an excavator, backhoe, front-end loader and skid-steer. The instructor will review the Code of Mass Regulations [CMR] and provide students all the necessary information to pass the MA Department of Public Safety 2A and IC Hoisting exams.
 
If you are a stakeholder in the MV community or simply have an interest in world languages we will be offering level 1 courses in Conversational Brazilian Portuguese and Conversational Spanish through real-world experiencesThese courses welcome beginner and beginner-intermediate speakers. Students will learn the tools necessary to communicate effectively in a variety of settings. Students will engage in in-class sessions, which will include a trip to the hospital/doctor’s office, the bank, and the supermarket. Both of our language instructors are native speakers and seasoned instructors.
 
ACE MV enthusiasts will also be delighted to know that we will be offering a variety of enrichment courses including Photography Fundamentals: Capturing Fall with Maria Thibodeau of Maria Thibodeau Photography; Observe, Feel, Experience, Write! Creative Non-Fiction Writing with award-winning feature writer C.K. Wolfson; Le Compagnon; Popovers, Baguettes, & Boule with Village Baker Teri Culletto; and a 3-day, Plant-Based Cooking Workshop with Island chef Eva Raposa. 
 
To inquire about these or any of our other courses please email info@ACEMV.org or call 508-693-9222. We look forward to seeing you in class! 
 
Jeannine
 
Jeannine Marie Lenehan
Program Director
ACE MV

Anglers want more say in offshore wind projects

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — As the charter fishing vessel Seven B’s V relentlessly pounded through 2-foot chop, the slowly revolving blades of five offshore wind turbines rose out of the bank of morning fog and drizzle. Three miles off the southeast corner of Block Island, these turbines supply power to the island, replacing diesel generators that burned a million gallons of fuel each year and emitted 40,000 tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere.

But a beneficial byproduct of these 390-foot-tall turbines is hidden beneath the waves.

Fish.

Soon after the turbines were installed in 2016, algae and other sea vegetation started growing on the 90 feet of support columns underwater. Mussels followed, then fish.

“Smaller fish, like black sea bass and scup, feeding around the column, blues and striped bass circling the outside (edges of the support column),” said charter boat fishing captain and columnist David Monti. “The fishing there before the wind farm was good, and it’s at least as good, if not better, now.”

But it was the process that impressed many in the recreational fishing community who often complain they were not given enough opportunity to comment on fisheries decisions.

“My understanding from talking to anglers is that Deepwater Wind (the original developer of the Block Island Wind Farm and now known as Orsted) really worked with the recreational fishing community to make sure they were engaged,” said Zach Cockrum, Northeast director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation.

Cockrum helped found Anglers for Offshore Wind Power to unite recreational fishermen around the principles of guaranteed access to the ocean encompassed by wind farms, advocating for greater input into the decision-making process around siting, permitting and other issues, and fisheries research before, during and after construction.

The wildlife federation saw that the benefits of offshore wind turbines extended beyond clean energy production to fishery habitat creation — reefs that had the potential to improve fishing for recreational enthusiasts in particular. While the base of the 6 megawatt Block Island turbines is relatively small, the Vineyard Wind 12 megawatt turbines, which stand nearly 600 feet tall to the uppermost blade tip, are nearly twice as large and will have a protective collar of stones 170 feet in diameter that will provide fish habitat, according to Crista Bank, fishery liaison for Vineyard Wind.

A 2017 article in MIT Technology Review cited a German study that showed that a single large offshore wind turbine could support nearly 9,000 pounds of mussels, and that it served as the basis for a community that included crabs and fish. The study said that by 2030, North Sea wind farms could account for 20 percent of the total stock of blue mussels.

“I have seen the underwater footage and I know it creates habitat and attracts fish,” Monti said.

But these benefits are good only if you are allowed to fish there, and nearly all European wind farms are closed to fishing.

In 2016, Massachusetts required that electrical distribution companies doing business in the state buy long-term contracts for at least 1,600 megawatts of wind power by 2026. Vineyard Wind will begin construction within the year on 84 turbines in a federal offshore wind power lease area approximately 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The 800 megawatts of power produced by the wind farm is already contracted out to three utility companies. Orsted, which owns two large tracts off the island, and Eversource are involved in a joint venture to sell 400 megawatts to a Rhode Island power utility. Other developers are also gearing up to secure power contracts and begin construction.

With hundreds of square miles off the Massachusetts shoreline likely to be developed in the coming years, both commercial and recreational fishermen need to become involved in the process to ensure they are not harmed.

Commercial fishermen have been voicing their concerns all along about access, safety and their ability to catch fish. In April, Rhode Island commercial fishermen helped negotiate a nearly $18 million fisheries mitigation package with Vineyard Wind.

“Both parties, in Massachusetts and nationally, have their foot on the throttle for this (offshore wind power),” said Patrick Paquette, a recreational fisheries advocate, community organizer and charter boat captain from Hyannis. Fishermen are not going to stop the offshore wind industry, but they can be part of the decision-making process, he said.

But the process of permitting a wind farm is bureaucratic and the meetings are endless. Bank pointed out that her company agreed with comments received from commercial fishermen on the benefits of reorienting the layout of the 84 wind turbine project, but they came in too late for the change to be made.

Fishermen are still awaiting a Coast Guard plan that will create lanes for larger commercial vessels to safely pass through on their way to offshore fishing grounds, and that may guarantee access as well.

“The Coast Guard has said there will be no limiting of fishing in the area, either recreational or commercial mobile and fixed gear,” said Bank.

Recreational fishermen are particularly vulnerable, as they only fish part time.

“The process is imperfect,” Cockrum said. “Reaching the right people is always challenging.”

It is hard for a large, diverse group of fishermen who fish only part time to remain engaged in every step in the permitting process. He would like to see more than two weeks’ notice on important meetings.

Cockrum said he has seen improvements in how offshore wind developers deal with fishermen. Vineyard Wind supported a request for a fishery monitoring study on the impact of turbines before, during and after construction on highly migratory species such as mahi-mahi and tuna that recreational fishermen pursue in the lease areas.

“We’re pretty sure this (wind farms) will be good for fishing, but ‘pretty sure’ is not good science,” Cockrum said. “That’s why we want a science commitment.”

Cockrum and Paquette helped organize a trip out to the Block Island Wind Farm on Tuesday for members of Massachusetts recreational fisheries organizations, offshore wind company representatives and some state officials. Paquette hoped the fishermen’s experience with Block Island wind farm developers would be translated to the larger tracts.

“We’re not looking at America’s first wind farm right here,” he said Tuesday, extending his arm toward a turbine that towered nearly 600 feet over the boat. “We’re looking at America’s first offshore wind sales room. They (Deepwater Wind) built this to show the Northeast how it should be done right.”

Monti said he had many discussions with Deepwater Wind on behalf of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, with 7,500 members, and the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association and thought they were treated fairly.

Even so, the scale of the new wind farms entering the permitting and construction phases dwarf that off Block Island and could have unforeseen developments both positive and negative.

“The (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) and the fishing community really have to get their act together, because it’s not an organized approach at this point, because we are both learning,” Monti said.

By: Doug Fraser

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

Screenshot 2018-08-28 11.14.32.png

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.