Project Update: Barnstable Town Council Votes Unanimously to Grant Transmission Easement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Approval completes Host Community Agreement between Town and Vineyard Wind, enabling over $35 million in anticipated local revenue
(New Bedford, MA; October 19, 2018) – The Barnstable Town Council voted unanimously last night to approve a transmission cable at Covell’s Beach that will connect the nation’s first commercial-scale wind farm with the regional electric power grid. The Town vote follows successful negotiation of a Host Community Agreement (HCA) between Vineyard Wind and Barnstable that will enable over $35 million for the town throughout the anticipated 25-year lifespan of the project.
In addition to community funding, the HCA includes requirements to protect Town water resources and prevent wind generation development in Nantucket Sound. Vineyard Wind, which will be sited 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, remains on schedule to begin site construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021. When Vineyard Wind’s project is completed, it will reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads.
“I want to commend Town Manager Mark Ells, Town Attorney Charlie McLoughlin and Vineyard Wind for the cooperative spirit that I’ve seen during negotiations,” said Councilor John Flores at the October 18 Town Council meeting. “The Town is taking into account what’s in the best interests of the community, including safety, which is critical, while protecting water resources and our aquifer to make sure there are no issues for us.”
Vineyard Wind was selected in May through a competitive process to build the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The company is currently seeking state and federal permits. Productive, cooperative negotiations between Barnstable councilors, Town staff and the company led to the selection of Covell’s Beach as the project’s preferred cable route in advance of regulatory proceedings before the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), which will make the final decision about siting of transmission infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Town of Barnstable as we move forward to make offshore wind a reality here in Massachusetts,” said Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer for Vineyard Wind. “Town Council and staff have worked diligently to protect community interests and capture numerous benefits associated with this project. We appreciate the trust and confidence Barnstable has placed in our project and thank them for their hard work and flexibility over the past year of discussions. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Town.”
The Vineyard Wind project has been favorably received throughout the community, with residents highlighting the unique opportunity Barnstable had to address climate change while securing a significant stream of long-term funding.
Cape Cod Chamber CEO Wendy Northcross, an early proponent of Vineyard Wind, has lauded the regional economic benefits of anchoring the nascent offshore wind industry in Southeastern Massachusetts.
“Responsibly-sited offshore wind projects will play a crucial element in the region’s burgeoning ‘blue economy,’” said Northcross. “Vineyard Wind will not only be a significant source of new high-paying jobs for many Cape residents, it represents a nexus of interests from conservation to marine innovation to marine trades. We hope that Vineyard Wind will long serve as a pillar of the local clean energy economy and a continuation of our rich maritime history.”
Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, a leading environmental organization, wrote the town to urge their support of the project.
“APCC views climate change as a real and present danger to the planet in general and to Cape Cod in particular,” Gottlieb’s letter of support stated. “The reality of increased warming, more frequent and severe storms and rising sea levels are no longer conjecture, but facts that we must confront with real actions to change our ways. A meaningful shift away from reliance on fossil fuels is a necessity if the Cape we know today is to exist for our children and grandchildren.”
About Vineyard Wind
Vineyard Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the US, to be located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables. For more information, visit www.vineyardwind.com.
Vineyard Wind Press Contact: Scott Farmelant, 617-939-6582, firstname.lastname@example.org