Danish company backs Vineyard offshore wind project

Dong Energy, which has offshore wind farms like this one, is one of the companies interested in a possible bid on a recently released RFP.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has acquired OffshoreMW, which holds an offshore lease for 160,000 acres 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard to develop a wind farm on one of four sections designated for the development of offshore wind power that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) put up for bid in January.

In addition to investing capital, CIP will provide senior management and technical expertise in developing the Massachusetts lease area, according to a press release.

Vineyard Power, a local renewable energy cooperative, whose stated mission is to produce local renewable energy in ways that benefit Martha’s Vineyard, had partnered with OffshoreMW, a New Jersey–based sister company to WindMW, a German firm, when it acquired the lease. Vineyard Power will now partner with CIP.

Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power, said that CIP brings an enormous amount of offshore wind expertise to the project. “They have the investment capacity, and they appreciate what we have to offer as a local community partner. Together we’ll be able to deliver a great project for the Vineyard, and for the entire commonwealth,” he said, according to a press release. Mr. Andre said the project will now be named Vineyard Wind.

This announcement comes three weeks after Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill that requires that electric companies such as Eversource and National Grid collectively contract for 1,600 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind leading into 2027. That number of megawatts is about one-third of the state’s current energy consumption.

At the Oak Bluffs selectmen’s meeting on August 23, Mr. Andre said the project team will begin a study of the seafloor — mapping the terrain and looking for sunken ships and unexploded ordinance — to determine the best location for the turbines. The geological survey will be managed by OffshoreMW.

He said the project would “create about 1,500 to 2,000 jobs, with as many as possible going to people on Martha’s Vineyard.” He told selectmen, “Once construction is complete, it will employ a staff of about 100 people for ongoing operations.”

Vineyard Wind is not alone. This spring, Denmark-based DONG Energy, one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, and developers of what will be the largest offshore wind-farm array in the world in the Irish Sea, said it plans to build a wind farm comprised of up to 100 wind turbines and capable of generating as much as 1,000 megawatts of electricity on a leased site.