The Martha’s Vineyard Commission closed out the public hearing for the Tisbury Marine Terminal project, which proposes to make repairs and alterations to its existing infrastructure to support offshore wind developments.
The project includes two parts: expanding the terminal to establish a home base for an operations and maintenance (O&M) facility to service future offshore wind developments and to create improvements to the terminal’s barging operations.
The O&M facility is planned to service wind farms up to 1,600 megawatts. Three new berths, sized 47, 50, and 57 feet, will be created for O&M vessels. A new bulkhead, fender system, and pile-supported pier deck are also proposed.
A public lookout is also part of the plans. It will include an 800-square-foot public lookout and a 10-foot-wide boardwalk along Beach Road. The lookout would connect via crosswalk to the sidewalk being constructed by MassDOT.
For the terminal operations, an existing solid-fill pier will be replaced with a 3,330-square-foot steel sheet pile structure and a concrete deck perpendicular to the shoreline. An existing 209-foot bulkhead will be reinforced, and a new 70-foot bulkhead will extend from the northeast corner of the pier to stabilize berthing areas.
The project is being proposed by Ralph Packer, who owns the property, and Richard Andre of Vineyard Power, a nonprofit aimed at creating a sustainable energy future for Martha’s Vineyard, and a partner with Vineyard Wind.
The project expects to create three year-round and three seasonal vessel operator jobs with salaries between $70,000 and $103,000.
The project would support projects like Vineyard Wind 1, which is set to be the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind installation. The wind farm will feature 62 GE Haliade-X turbines, and is expected to have an overall cost of approximately $2 billion. The 62 turbines will produce 800 megawatts of electricity. That electricity will be sent through two export cables buried under the Atlantic seafloor.
Aquinnah resident WIlliam Lake was the sole member of the public that gave testimony during the hearing: “I think this is something that both be extremely favorable in terms of our response to climate change and also something that can very much help the Island in terms of the infrastructure of Vineyard Haven and employment on the Island.”
Several commissioners were disappointed there were not more members of town boards and committees or members of the public that attended the meeting. “I wish there were more people showing up. This is a big deal,” Commissioner Christine Todd said. “Where is everyone?”
“There’s been a lot of press, and this is what everybody wants,” Commissioner Clarence (“Trip”) Barnes III said.
Commissioner Linda Sibley said usually the only time the public gives significant testimony is when there is opposition to a project. “When there’s sort of unanimous support of a project or strong support, the public says, ‘This is a night I can afford to ignore this,’” she said.
Andre added that Vineyard Wind has received six letters of support, one from each Island town.
While they have yet to deliberate, some commissioners gave praise to the project and Packer’s business.
“This really does go along with Tisbury’s working waterfront initiative. Most of us know a lot of the other waterfronts in the other towns have been dedicated more toward tourist activity, and Tisbury has made a concerted effort to keep this waterfront area for maritime uses,” Commissioner Fred Hancock said. “It’s an important initiative for the MVC to support as well.”
The public record will remain open for the project until noon on Monday, Oct. 4.