In February, the Tech Council’s Infrastructure Committee members reported on the Broadband Research Project and heard presentations from Recharge Massachusetts and Avangrid.
The Broadband Research Project held a meeting in January, at which the Cape Cod Commission presented on the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative Digital Equity project, available to all Cape towns. The committee is interested in providing support for groups who have applied for and received grants for broadband deployment, in the interest of working together and reducing duplication of effort.
Recharge Massachusetts works with organizations and communities to raise visibility of electric vehicles and recognize Massachusetts EV leaders. Their program principles are community-based EV education, demonstrating to the public how the transition to EV can work for them. There is also a focus on keeping energy dollars local. Upcoming events are:
April 12, Boston: Massachusetts Symposium with discussions on equity in EV, opportunity and access, and workforce development.
June 3, Hyannis: EV Test Drive Event will have electric cars, bus, and ebikes. The event’s goal is to provide public education on the economic and environmental benefits of clean transportation and how EVs fit into their daily life. Event partners include Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Cape Cod Commission, Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, Cape Light Compact, and others.
One of the functions of the infrastructure committee is to vet requests for support. Avangrid LLC has requested that the CCTC provide a comment on the draft environmental impact statement issued in December 2022. Representatives from Avangrid attended the meeting and gave a presentation regarding that request.
Avangrid is managing the Park City Wind & Commonwealth Wind projects, both of which are landing in Barnstable. Park City Wind is currently in development and permitting. It will be landing at the paved public beach in Centerville. Commonwealth Wind will be landing at Dowses Beach in Osterville. Both projects have their turbines in a federal lease area over 40 miles from the coast of Barnstable and 20 miles from the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Together, they are referred to as the New England Wind project.
The comment period is for the draft environmental impact statement for the combined New England Wind project, encompassing onshore and offshore elements of both projects.
The CCTC has previously supported state permitting on the Commonwealth Wind Project. This project comes into Osterville under the paved causeway and out into the roadway. According to Avangrid, the beach will not be touched. The permitting is to address potential environmental issues and unintended consequences.
Avangrid is currently in partnership with sewer installation with the Town of Barnstable and is substantially subsidizing the sewer projects. When Avangrid installs their cables under the roadway they will also put in sewer, drinking water lines and drainage systems.
There are a limited number of south facing substations on the Cape, some of which are constrained by conservation land. Avangrid has secured and acquired rights to the Hyannis substation in Independence Park for Vineyard Wind and the Eversource substation in West Barnstable for Park City Wind and Commonwealth Wind. They can only land their power in West Barnstable. It is also best practice to avoid crossing cables offshore, which limits the landing areas. They looked at several locations before landing on Dowses Beach, which has a large rectangular parking lot appropriate for the project.
Vineyard Wind is complete, will start providing power this year, and be fully operational next year. Park City Wind has a signed host community agreement with the Town of Barnstable for the Craigville Beach project landing. Cape Cod Commission review of the project begins on March 7, followed by the Barnstable Conservation Commission. Commonwealth Wind is early in the permitting process. They have filed with the Energy Facilities Siting Board, which will be an extensive process.
The Committee received and considered concerns expressed by Save Greater Dowes Beach.
The Committee voted to draft a letter the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management citing the long-term environmental benefits of the project and requesting that BOEM carefully review and appropriately act on the environmental impact statement.