Inaugural class of 7th-grade Vineyard Wind Scholars graduates

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NEW BEDFORD -- Kaylee Ann Anthony of Hyannis and Cole Defrancisci of West Barnstable are among 12 local students from the Cape and Islands who recently graduated from the summertime Advanced Studies & Leadership Program (ASLP) Science/Technology/Engineering/Math Course (STEM Course) 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 also were awarded to 7th-grade scholars from 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/”

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.

The project continues to move ahead with public and regulatory review through more than 25 federal, state, and local approval processes. 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.

To date, Vineyard Wind has received permits or approvals from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), an independent state board responsible for review of proposed large energy facilities, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office, the Cape Cod Commission, the Barnstable Conservation Commission, the Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Commission, and the Nantucket Conservation Commission. The state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has also determined that the project will not have an adverse effect on rare, threatened, or endangered species. 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 offshore wind energy.

Vineyard Wind also has entered into a Host Community Agreement with the Town of Barnstable, and a Community Benefits Agreement with the non-profit energy cooperative Vineyard Power, which serves Martha’s Vineyard. Fishing representatives for the project include the New Bedford Port Authority, the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association, and the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust.

The Novus Group