Manter suggests Vineyard Wind build a high school


Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power and a member of the West Tisbury energy committee, joined committee chair Kate Warner in an expansive discussion of resiliency ideas for the town and project updates for Vineyard Wind at Wednesday’s select board meeting. Vineyard Power is a partner of Vineyard Wind. 

Select board chair Skipper Manter pressed Andre on what carbon footprint the Vineyard Wind 1 project will produce. 

The whole 800 megawatt project “is paid back in less than 12 months,” Andre said.

“That’s impressive, Manter said.

Andre, who said Vineyard Power helped Vineyard Wind with the calculations, noted the estimate was conservative and included embedded carbon like the steel used in things such as turbine blades is factored in. Also factored into it was 20 years worth of diesel projected to be used by the maintenance vessels berthed in Vineyard Haven.

Andre noted Vineyard Wind is bidding on its third project and if successful, that will translate into more on-Island resiliency projects and more money for things like the marine facility planned for Vineyard Haven. 

Manter told Andre he thought Vineyard Wind should “erect a new high school, totally carbon footprint-free.”

He suggested it would be money well spent. Manter expressed pessimism the Vineyard’s towns would ever cooperate and built a new high school and suggested it was a job better suited to a private entity.

Andre didn’t take a position on Manter’s suggestion. 

“Never hurts to ask Vineyard Wind,” he said.

Warner said West Tisbury should work toward the goal of operating off 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Town buildings should also attain a high level of resiliency through solar energy, batteries, and other methods.

Warner said the West Tisbury School consumes more than 50 percent of West Tiisbury’s energy and fortunately was just just added to the green communities program

“The school is our biggest challenge because it is our largest building and it has received very little attention thus far,” she said. 

Warner also mentioned several town buildings are served by oversized generators which is problematic. 

Manter couldn’t fathom how oversized generators would “run at a strain.”

Town consultant Wilson Rickerson helped explain the problem. “Let’s say you have a 100 watt generator and you’re at 50 kilowatts or below of load, you can start getting, I guess the technical term is gunk, building up. The generator will start wet-stacking.”

Ultimately, Rickerson said, this can lead to “significantly shorter equipment lives.”

During a long term power failure, generators like that, which the town has, could suffer “some degradation” and possibly fail. 

Rickerson said there were several generators that are “oversized” serving town buildings, however the West Tisbury School’s generator wasl “relatively right-sized”.   

The board took all comments and discussion under advisement.