8th Annual Member Meeting

Our 8th Annual Member Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 1st from 5:30-7:00pm at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs.  We will be introducing newly elected board members, discussing the recent 100% Renewable energy Summit we held in September, and giving an update on the most recent developments with Vineyard Wind and our ongoing legislative efforts for Community Empowerment

Mayor Jon Mitchell, State Representatives to join Vineyard Wind for New Bedford Office Opening

MEDIA ADVISORY

Mayor Jon Mitchell, State Representatives to join Vineyard Wind for

New Bedford Office Opening

Vineyard Wind’s new office to open June 29

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (June 23, 2017) – Vineyard Wind, an offshore wind energy developer vying to build the first utility-scale project off the coast of Massachusetts, will host a ribbon cutting and office warming reception at its facility on 700 Pleasant Street in New Bedford.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, along with State Representatives Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford) and Paul Schmid (D-Westport) will join Vineyard Wind to cut the ribbon for the office.

“We’re thrilled so many of our local leaders will join us to celebrate our new office opening,” said Erich Stephens, CEO of Vineyard Wind.  “Offshore wind will bring real economic opportunity to this region, and Mayor Mitchell and the members of our legislature recognize how it can benefit New Bedford and the South Coast.  We’re excited to be part of this community.”

Who:                        Mayor Jon Mitchell

Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford)

Rep. Pat Haddad (D-Somerset)

Rep. Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford)

Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport)

When:                    June 29, 4 to 7 p.m.

Where:                   700 Pleasant Street, Suite 510, New Bedford

Vineyard Wind is one of three companies that has acquired lease rights to build wind projects off the coast of Massachusetts. Vineyard Wind’s project area is about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Last summer, Massachusetts required utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts (MW) of clean, offshore wind energy within the next decade. When the 1,600 MW of generation capacity are completed, they will generate enough clean, homegrown energy to power the equivalent of more than 750,000 Massachusetts homes every year.

Media planning to attend should RSVP to jlamontagne@rasky.com.

About Vineyard Wind

Vineyard Wind, a portfolio company of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid Renewables,  is an offshore wind development company, based in New Bedford, Mass., that is seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the US.

Contact:

John Lamontagne, Rasky Partners

617-391-9663, jlamontagne@rasky.com

 

 

Join VP at Offshore Ale on Thursday, FebRuary 2 - Dine to Donate

Join Vineyard Power on Thursday, February 2nd, all day, at Offshore Ale!  There will be several silent auction items up for grabs including assorted meat from Cleveland Farm, jewelry from Hawkhouse, gift basket from Brickyard & more! 

Show this coupon to your server and 20% of food sale will go directly to Vineyard Power. 

To make a reservation for lunch or dinner call 508-693-2626.

Offshore Wind Public Information Meetings

The information meeting will be:
 
·         Vineyard Haven - Monday, November 14, 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Tisbury Senior Center, Council on Aging, 34 Pine Tree Road, Vineyard Haven
 
On November 14, representatives from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will host a public information meeting in Vineyard Haven to present, answer questions, and discuss recent and upcoming planning and assessment activities related to future offshore wind projects in federal waters off Massachusetts.

Topics include an overview of the new energy diversity law and updates on: marine mammal and bird studies, Metocean data collection, geological surveys, and transmission planning. Representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be in attendance. For more information on the offshore wind activities for Massachusetts, see the EEA website.

Richard Andre, President of Vineyard Power and development partner Erich Stephens, Vice President of Vineyard Wind (formerly OffshoreMW), have also been invited to provide a timely update on our progress.

 

Offshore Wind Survey Update

In September, October, and November, reconnaissance geophysical & geotechnical surveys will take place within a portion of the BOEM Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, lease area OCS – A 501. The vessel Shearwater is being used for the majority of the geophysical survey work. The Synergy will be on site for up to a few weeks in late October – early November. The Synergy will be stationary while conducting the geotechnical survey work.  

For a printable version of the notice, please click this link.

Offshore Wind Survey Update

In September and October, a reconnaissance geophysical survey will take place within a portion of the BOEM Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, lease area OCS – A 501 (see survey update and chart below).  This survey will gather data on seabed and subfloor conditions that will assist in identifying potential locations for future siting of offshore wind turbines. 

Details of subsequent phases of the survey will be determined and announced shortly.  

Collecting data and working with the local fisheries

This is the first step of data collection and assessment that Vineyard Power & our partner OffshoreMW will undertake within the next several years in this area.  Vineyard Power is committed to communicating and working with the local fishermen in the region across all fishery sectors and during all stages of development of the proposed offshore wind farm. 

OffshoreMW Acquires New Financial Backers & Names Project

We are pleased to announce our partner OffshoreMW, which holds an offshore wind lease south of Martha's Vineyard has new financial backers and a new name for their project. 

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has recently acquired OffshoreMW & will provide senior management & technical expertise in developing the Massachusetts lease area.  

Richard Andre, President of Vineyard Power said, "We're very pleased that we'll now be working with the CIP team.  We've met with them and know they bring an enormous amount of offshore wind expertise, they have the investment capacity, and they appreciate what we have to offer as a local community partner.  Together we'll be able to deliver a great project for the Vineyard, & for the entire commonwealth."  

In addition, the name of the project will be "Vineyard Wind", reflecting both the project's proximity to the island as well as OffshoreMW's long standing ties to Vineyard Power Cooperative.  

More to come soon!

MA Legislature Passes Offshore Wind Energy Bill

A new law in Massachusetts, passed on July 31, 2016, will requires utility companies in the state (Eversource & National Grid) to buy up to 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy over the next 10 years, making it the largest commitment of its kind in the country.

This commitment to a new renewable energy industry will create many jobs in our region and the south coast.  Vineyard Power will continue to advocate for local jobs on Martha's Vineyard. 

To learn more, read this article from the MV Gazette.

Governor Charlie Baker Signs the Energy Omnibus Bill on August 8, 2016.  Our President Richard Andre was present at this Ceremony.

Governor Charlie Baker Signs the Energy Omnibus Bill on August 8, 2016.  Our President Richard Andre was present at this Ceremony.

In Partnership, Vineyard Power Wins Lease Area With Offshore MW

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on January 29, 2015, that OffshoreMW, along with its community based partner Vineyard Power Cooperative, as the provisional winner of a lease to develop offshore wind in the federal waters south of Martha's Vineyard. The lease area, OCS-A 501, consisting of 166,886 acres, is located approximately 14 miles south of the island of Martha's Vineyard. 

Prior to today's auction, Offshore MW and Vineyard Power entered into a Community Benefit Agreement, the first of its kind in the US offshore wind industry. The Community Benefit Agreement is a collaborative effort to develop utility scale offshore wind with the intention of delivering value to the local community of Martha's Vineyard, through local job creation, infrastructure investment, and community participation and input in the project. OffshoreMW and Vineyard Power will also explore opportunities to deliver wider regional benefits and values from offshore wind development.

We would like to thank you, our members, for your continued support through this process and the countless letters and hours spent advocating on behalf of our organization.  We have taken another giant step towards the realization of our community-owned offshore wind farm.  

Our organization is looking forward to the challenges ahead and moving forward in the same spirit of collaboration as we continue to execute our goals.  

Vineyard Power won the light tan colored zone - 501

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Pope Agrees, Progress for Our Community by Mike Jacobs, Chairman of Vineyard Power

Photo (below) of Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club new solar array.

Did Vineyard Power Coop receive an endorsement in the Pope’s encyclical letter?

Paragraph 179 champions just what we are doing:

"In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy."

We need you

Can you support Vineyard Power Coop as we continue to promote sustainable energy development for the island?  We come to you, our friends and neighbors now with a list of successes and a plan for action. We have succeeded so far with members’ initial contributions, a few gifts and loans from supporters, and earnings from our solar projects.   But as we grow into our next phase, we need volunteers and contributors.

We have crossed some serious thresholds, and we need help to solidify these gains.

We now have 5 completed solar projects up and running, making energy on the island, most recently adding solar at the Boys and Girls Club (see photo above).

We have guided comments to the U.S. Dept of Interior for the creation of an auction for an acceptable offshore wind development area, and the recognition of a community benefits agreement with Vineyard Power.

We have partnered with a successful bidder in obtaining a lease http://www.vineyardpower.com/offshore-windstarting 12 miles south of the island.

We are in the midst of a legislative campaign on Beacon Hill to enable more renewable energy projects, including offshore wind, to go forward the way we want - "Community Empowerment".

Join us. Start here.

A bigger base

For Vineyard Power to gather its members’ support for more on-island solar and new offshore wind 12 miles to the south, we need to broaden our base.

Our legislative campaign for Community Empowerment and requirements for an offshore wind portfolio, requires that we be known to state representatives and senators.  We’ve been to Beacon Hill to testify in support of bills for offshore wind and for democratic action on more renewable energy. www.communityempowerment.org

To keep the community engaged with siting and permitting offshore wind, we need to be known to island residents and homeowners.

To negotiate for windfarm jobs and a financial stake in the windfarm, we need build new alliances, joint ventures and partnerships.

New stage for all of us

Our work to create renewable energy that benefits the island and reflects the choices of the island community is at a new stage. We need to publicize the opportunity created by our partnership with a leaseholder. We need to express the community interest in jobs, ownership, and benefits from locally-owned renewable energy. We need to secure the jobs, ownership, and benefits from offshore wind 12 miles to the south.

Already a member? Want to do more? In past years, we have met our budget with grants, gifts, loans, and even fees from completing solar projects.

Membership and gifts make these happen. Contributions provide returns, from tax deductions to interest on loans, to equity for member/owners.

Call us at 508-693-3002 to talk about this sort of help, stop by our office, located at 322 State Road in Vineyard Haven, or e-mail us at info@vineyardpower.com

Community Empowerment: hearings, webinars, and more

Hearing dates have been scheduled for state legislation currently in committee. The Community Empowerment hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 20th from 1-5 PM in hearing room B-1. 

Prior to this date, we are looking to gain as much support as possible for this unique bill. More information can be found on our legislation page, as well as at communityempowerment.org

We will additionally be holding two informal webinars on September 8th and 9th to present Community Empowerment to residents and answer any questions about this piece of legislation. We invite you to register for these events if you are interested. 

Please reach out to us with any questions regarding this legislation. We look forward to your support in the coming weeks!

The High Costs of Island Waste Removal and Energy Use...Or Are They Benefits?

As a native mainlander spending my first summer on Martha’s Vineyard, there is much I have begun to discover regarding the unique character, rewards, and challenges posed by island life.  Recently I was sitting in the Vineyard Power office and noticed that our trash and recycling were beginning to overflow.  I inquired as to why our waste had not been collected in several weeks (I had observed the pile growing since my arrival).  The concept of paying a private company to dispose of trash and recycled goods was completely foreign to me.  Later that afternoon, a woman signing our “Community Benefits” petition outside of Cronig’s Market was equally surprised to hear that she could not simply drop her trash off at a dump free of charge.

Here on the island there is a finite amount of space available and the surrounding ocean requires all goods to be transported by sea or air to and from the island.  While this may seem like a major inconvenience, it actually may be beneficial to the Martha’s Vineyard population.  Unlike many mainlanders who can put out their trash and recycle on a weekly basis and forget about where their waste goes, those on the island have to face the reality that the landfills have long been filled and capped and there are real costs associated with their waste because it must be transported to the mainland.  Yes, perhaps the fees associated with trash and recycling disposal are minimal and yes, many probably stop thinking about where the waste goes once it is loaded onto the ferry, but any means of compelling Americans to stop and briefly consider how much they consume and waste is important.  On Nantucket, for example, the realization of the space and cost issues related to waste disposal have led residents to reduce their non-recyclable, or straight to landfill, waste to 8%.  This is a significant amount when considering the approximately 66% of waste that is sent to landfill in the greater Massachusetts area.[1]

It is this greater consciousness of consumption that the nature of an island creates that makes MV so well suited for community owned and controlled energy.  The costs of sending electricity and fuel to the island are high and reduce the islands ability to be independent.  As one islander said to me the other day, he and his family recognize that the island needs to be generating its own energy and that could be in the form of a coal fired power plant or offshore wind development.  There are certainly varied costs and benefits to both energy sources, but stay tuned for next week’s blog that will explore the hidden costs of fossil fuel use.  

An Island Powered by Community Supported Wind

Vineyard Power’s mission is to bring locally produced and controlled renewable energy to Martha’s Vineyard.  As a cooperative, the members have a voice in the company’s decision-making process and will benefit from the clean energy produced from the future offshore wind project.  But you may be wondering, is this feasible to achieve in the near future?  Has it been done before?

Many communities in Europe are taking charge of their energy futures.  They are achieving this through the formation of energy cooperatives that are focused on generating affordable, locally produced, renewable energy.  <!--break-->Examples in Germany, England, Belgium, and Denmark demonstrate the importance of community investment.  Those that work closely with local people, as a community, have had far greater success than those operations that only focus on commercial interests.  Closer to home, the Cape Wind project has faced great opposition for various reasons.  Many people have been concerned about the lack of community inclusion and demonstrated benefits to the local economy. 

One island in Denmark, Samso Island, has become carbon neutral[1] in less than ten years' time.  The island, similar to Martha’s Vineyard, is a small, rural, agricultural based community.  Many islanders were initially wary of the costs and potential negative impacts of wind turbines, but the project’s success has inspired even greater participation in renewable energy development.  Samso Island now has both on and offshore wind turbines, heating systems fueled by solar energy and biomass (e.g. straw from the farmers’ fields), as well as increased use of technologies like electric vehicles.  The island hopes to be completely fossil fuel free by 2030.  Not only has this initiative been financially and environmentally positive, Samso has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, given its unique energy systems. 

Samso Island is certainly an example of the positive impact a small community can have by coming together to realize the importance of having energy independence on a local scale with an emphasis on the need to move away from traditional fossil fuel production. Hopefully Martha’s Vineyard can be next!

To hear more about Samso, take a look at this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmJxUsXWajo