2018-07-20
http://w3.windfair.net/wind-energy/pr/27939-usa-offshore-cape-wind-vineyard-wind-massachusetts-rhode-island-block-island-marthas-vineyard

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After Years of Struggle: Industrial Park instead of Wind Farm

Have Martha's Vineyard residents ever imagined it? For years, they used all legal means to fight a planned offshore wind farm off their island until the developer gave up. Now, instead, a large industrial park for the offshore wind industry will be built in their port.

Years of paperwork preceded the end of the Cape Wind Offshore Wind Farm (Image: Cape Wind)Years of paperwork preceded the end of the Cape Wind Offshore Wind Farm (Image: Cape Wind)

About 15,000 inhabitants live on the island of Martha's Vineyard/Ma. And if things had been like project developer Cape Wind had planned it, today the first US offshore wind farm would supply clean energy off the island. But things turned out differently. Some of the residents, among them the influential Kennedy clan, used all legal levers to prevent the construction of the wind farm since the plans became known. Official reason for this were concerns about nature conservation; indeed, the residents feared for the prospect of their summer residences.

For almost 15 years, victory and defeat alternated in various courts, until the developer gave up the project at the end of 2017. At that time, another project had already been completed off the coast of Rhode Island a little further southwest. Block Island now has the title of America's First Offshore Wind Farm.

Block Island, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., has been in operation since the end of 2016. (Image: Deepwater Wind)

Nevertheless, the residents of the island off Massachusetts will soon be involved in the offshore wind industry. Project developer Vineyard Wind and partner Vineyard Power Cooperative solemnly laid the foundation stone for a large offshore wind centre in the port of Martha's Vineyard this week.

After commissioning, the'Offshore Wind Operation & Maintenance Center' will employ up to 40 people. At the same time, Vineyard Power announced a partnership with the local high school and other educational institutions on the island. Workers for the offshore industry are to be trained here.

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.” 

Richard Andre, President of Vineyard Power, also emphasizes the links with the local authorities: “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.” 

Local officials, business owners, civic leaders and representatives of the island’s energy community joined with Vineyard Power Cooperative to celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony (see picture above, source: Vineyard Wind).

Is a new generation of politicians finally committed to offshore wind in Massachusetts? According to State Representative Dylan Fernandes, that is probably the case: “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. 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.”

Let's hope that the island's establishment will wake up, too and give up their resistance.

Author:
Katrin Radtke
Email:
press@windfair.net
Keywords:
USA, offshore, Cape Wind, Vineyard Wind, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Block Island, Marthas Vineyard



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