November Infrastructure: Vineyard Wind and Cape Light Compact updates

At its November meeting, the Infrastructure Committee had updates from Vineyard Wind and Cape Light Compact.

Nathaniel Mayo and Rosalie DeCosta of Vineyard Wind presented an update on current projects, including the Vineyard Wind 1 project which the Tech Council has supported.

Vineyard Wind is in partnership with Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Parnters. They hold two federal leases for wind development in southeastern New England— Vineyard Wind 1 and Park City Wind.

Vineyard Wind 1 has received final permiting and is currently in the early stage of construction. They’ve signed a project labor agreement which ensures that this project (the first of its kind in the nation) will be a union job. They see this as a roadmap for responsible development, including labor, community engagement, environmental protection and marine research.

The host community agreement Vineyard Wind has made with the town of Barnstable is a cornerstone to the project. Vineyard Wind has been proactive in community engagement and discussion, answering questions and concerns in the community and at open houses.

A collaboration with Greentown Labs develops real-time marine mammal monitoring technologies, addressing concerns regarding environmental protection and marine research. These technologies include visual and acoustic monitoring, noise dampening technologies, and will delineate time of year restrictions on pile driving based on observed migration patterns.

Responsible development also addresses Vineyard Wind’s coexistence with commercial and recreational fisheries. They are working with UMass Dartmouth and New England Aquarium, collecting baseline data prior to construction to assess potential fisheries impact. It is a cross-collaboration with Vineyard Wind, regulators, private fishermen, and the industry to create common data sets. They have also established post-construction monitoring to document impacts and have engaged with representatives across multiple fisheries sectors.

Vineyard Wind 1 is the nation’s first major offshore clean energy facility. It is an industry that doesn’t yet exist and is expected to provide 80,000 jobs. Vineyard Wind is committing to hiring local turbine technicians and using local union workers. Since it is a new industry, there is support for Massachusetts wind workforce training, local supply chain development, and marine mammal protection. The operations and maintenance facility will be based on Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind is seeking to build long term jobs (operations and maintenance) in the region as well.

Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800 Megawatt project with 62 turbines of 13 megawatts each. The project is located 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Its cable landfall and substation connection are in Hyannis. Project development and permitting began in 2017. In 2021 they began onshore construction, with offshore construction scheduled to begin in spring 2022. Turbine installation will begin early in 2023. It will be fully operational in 2024. Substation site preparation has begun in Hyannis, which will involve construction detours and delays.

Vineyard Wind is also in the midst of permitting a second project, Park City Wind. It is located southwest of Vineyard Wind 1 and similar in size, connecting at Craigville Beach in Barnstable with a substation on Shootflying HIll Road.

On the federal level, both Park City Wind and a future project are being reviewed with a timeline to be determined. The goal of permitting the two projects is to provide predictability of what the lease area will look like, so stakeholders can comment on the scope of the whole project.

The future project is Commonwealth Wind. It would be 800 or 1200 megawatts, south of Park City Wind, with a grid connection on Oak Street, West Barnstable. The timeline on this project is to be determined if it is selected. It includes a partnership with the City of Salem and Crowley Maritime, and a partnership with Semco to establish an offshore wind service and maintenance hub in New Bedford.

More information is at vineyardwind.com/barnstable and fineyardwind.com/barnstable#worknotices

Mariel Marchand, Power Supply Planner at Cape Light Compact, asked for support for the Cape and Vineyard Electrification Offering, which was submitted in 2019. The Department of PUblic Utilities denied the plan, requesting changes to the offering.

The Cape and Vineyard Electrification Offering was a strategic electrification targeted at low income customers on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard. The redesigned plan was targeting 250 low and moderate income customers on the Cape, to provide them with solar, pv, battery storage and heat pumps, to move them off of oil, propane and electric heat.

Cape Light Compact resubmitted the CVEO and did not receive a ruling. They are now in the process of putting together an appeal to submit to the DPU and supreme judicial court. They would appreciate public comment from the CCTC.

There are public hearings on the plan December 1 & 2, with written comments due Dec. 3. They are putting together bullet points for written comment and will send information on how to attend the hearings and submit comments.

Marchand said the original plan was rejected because they didn’t see it as an energy efficiency technology and the SMART legislation in the Commonwealth occupies the field in legislation aimed at solar.

Members of the Infrastructure Committee were in favor of supporting Cape Light Compact’s request for support and will provide information to the Tech Council Board for approval.

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