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.