In a win for Vineyard Wind’s offshore project, the Massachusetts legislature has enacted bipartisan legislation authorizing the Barnstable Town Council to grant an easement for a portion of Covell’s Beach that will allow for construction of the interconnection between the wind farm and the New England power grid.
The legislative vote follows a host community agreement (HCA) between the Town of Barnstable (a community in Cape Cod) and Vineyard Wind; this HCA was unanimously supported by the Barnstable Town Council in October 2018, the developer notes.
The HCA includes annual payments to the town of at least $1.534 million each year in combined property taxes and host community payments, totaling a guaranteed $16 million in host community payments. The town council has dedicated those resources to municipal water protection efforts.
The HCA also includes $80,000 for reconstruction of a bathhouse at Covell’s Beach, repaving of an aged parking lot at the beach, barring construction between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and collaboration on design features. The company and the town are also working in close collaboration to aid the town’s sewer needs by co-locating sewer infrastructure in conjunction with Vineyard Wind construction, which will save costs to the town and reduce the need for future road openings.
The bill was co-sponsored by State. Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and State Rep. William L. Crocker, R-Barnstable.
“The landing of the Vineyard Wind underwater transmission cable in Centerville will bring clean, renewable electricity for thousands of local homes and businesses and further establish our region on the leading edge of a clean energy future,” remarks Cyr. “Swift action on this legislation has been a priority for the entire Cape and Islands legislative delegation. With our vote, the Town of Barnstable will receive significant financial benefits and electric infrastructure improvements as a result of the project’s landing site.”
“I am very pleased the House has unanimously approved the Vineyard Wind easement for the Town of Barnstable,” adds Crocker. “This is another step in the legislative process that will eventually allow for the production of clean and renewable energy off Martha’s Vineyard.”
Vineyard Wind is expressing appreciation for the efforts of all Cape Cod officials, including the bipartisan coalition of legislators who co-sponsored the effort.
“Following more than a year of close collaboration between Barnstable and Vineyard Wind, we’re grateful for the efforts of Cape Cod lawmakers to enact bipartisan legislation that allows for construction of America’s first large-scale offshore wind farm,” says Erich Stephens, chief development officer of Vineyard Wind. “With the easement, Vineyard Wind can move forward with a program that features minimally invasive burial techniques 30 feet below the tideline with no disruption to the shoreline.”
Vineyard Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, is developing an 800 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It was selected in 2018 as the winning bid under Massachusetts’ 83C offshore wind solicitation.
Photo: Justin H. Petrosek, Wikimedia Commons