Offshore Wind Power
Experience with turbines and meteorological towers on Martha's Vineyard has proven that we have a strong onshore wind resource. Due to less turbulence and friction, our offshore wind resources are steadier and stronger than the wind we experience on land.
Current available data of scattered offshore anemometers and state wind maps indicate that the wind around Martha's Vineyard is strong. A wind map from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) classifies all open water to the east, southeast, and south of the Vineyard as either "Excellent" (between 7.5 and 8 meters per second (m/s) at 50 meters altitude) or "Outstanding" (between 8.0 and 8.8 m/s).
Using available wind information sources, seabed maps, lease rights, and more, Vineyard Power will investigate potential sites for offshore wind power generation to be owned and operated by the cooperative. This will include deploying an initial meteorological monitoring buoy to record actual wind speed over the course of one year. These data will confirm that the specific site is economically viable before Vineyard Power commits to detailed design or permitting. This process will include thorough environmental impact studies that will ensure that no development is undertaken that will have an undue negative effect on the marine or avian life. Also, no activity will be carried out which could adversely affect sites, structures or objects of historical, cultural, or archaeologicial significance.
Initial wind power models suggest that Vineyard Power can meet the full winter electric load of Martha's Vineyard with the development of 10 industrial-sized offshore turbines (5 MW each). The Federal Government estimated timeline suggests this vision can be realized by 2019-2020.
Offshore Wind Lease Application
Vineyard Power is looking to develop a wind farm in the federal waters at least 12 miles from the Vineyard's southern shores. In response to the Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continential Shelf (OCS) Offshore Massachusetts - Request for Interest (RFI), on April 15, 2011, and by the authority of our members, who chose the site of our potential offshore wind farm, Vineyard Power, in alliance with OffshoreMW, submitted our Proposed Commercial Lease to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).
The collaboration between OffshoreMW and Vineyard Power is referred to as the Martha's Vineyard Offshore Wind Alliance (MVOWA). This project will both contribute to our Co-op's plans for securing clean, stable-priced energy for Martha's Vineyard, as well as contribute to our Commonwealth's stated objective of 4000MW of wind generation capacity offshore for the state.
The requested lease area was identified as a result of careful screening and analysis process which included (but was not limited to) receiving public input from residents of Martha's Vineyard, consultation with the fishing industry which operates in the region, interconnection feasibility study, wind resource analysis and other technical considerations.
MVOWA seeks to develop and operate the proposed project in such a way as to enhance job creation and economic development in Massachusetts, particularly Martha's Vineyard, to the greatest extent practical. MVOWA has identified a potential location for an operations and maintenance facility on Martha's Vineyard, has begun discussions with Massachusetts business and organized labor groups about supplying components and services in support of the project, and will actively pursue utilizing the port of New Bedford during construction.
To read our entire lease application please visit the Documents section.
Other Offshore Commercial Lease Applicants in the Massachusett's Request for Interest Area
The following is a list of the nine (9) other applicants who submitted applications to develop offshore wind farms in the Massachusett's RFI Area.
- Condor Wind Energy LLC
- Energy Management, Inc. (Cape Wind)
- Fisherman's Energy, LLC
- Free Flow Power Corporation
- Iberdrola Renewables Inc
- Neptune Wind LLC
- NRG Bluewater Wind Massachusetts LLC
- US Wind Inc.
- No Fossil Fuel, LLC (rescinded application)
Which of these Companies will be Awarded a Lease to Build an Offshore Wind Farm?
A competitive process will decide who will be awarded a federal lease to build an offshore wind farm in our waters. In the competitive leasing process, one of four potential methods will decide who will be awarded a commercial lease. When considering a competitive lease process, Vineyard Power, the residents of Martha's Vineyard and our local and state elected officials are lobbying the Federal Government to use Multi-Factored approach. The Multi-Factored approach would help give additional consideration to those applicant's that have a community based, but not limited to, component.
Our Members Gave our Cooperative Authority to Apply for Blocks 6976, 6977 and 6978.
BOEM Releases the Proposed Sale Notice for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area & the Community Benefit Discount:
Vineyard Power, along with members of our Renewable Energy Task Force and local and state politicians, have continually requested to BOEM that those communities most impacted by offshore wind farm development receive direct benefits from the these projects.
On June 17, 2014, BOEM released the Proposed Sale Notice for the upcoming auction for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. After much lobbying, we are pleased to annouce they included a 5% discount to those developers with a Community Benefit Agreement.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on January 30, 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.
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.
Prior to the 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.
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.