MVC approves Tisbury Marine Terminal improvements

A screenshot of the Tisbury Terminal project.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the Tisbury Marine Terminal project. The project would make harborfront improvements to Tisbury Towing and Transportation barging infrastructure, and would create a new operations and maintenance facility for offshore wind farms. 

The operations and maintenance facility will feature three slips for special vessels designed to service wind farms. An 800-square-foot public lookout is also part of the project. This will include a 10-foot-wide boardwalk along Beach Road. 

Vineyard Wind would be the first offshore wind developer to use the facility. Vineyard Wind’s partner on the Vineyard, Vineyard Power, has helped promote the project. 

In the lead-up to the vote, commissioner member Kathy Newman (Aquinnah) said whatever the local environmental impacts the project may have, it was important to consider the “big environment” and the facility’s role in it. Commission member Josh Goldstein (Tisbury) said the project has the endorsement of the Tisbury select board. Goldstein also said the board recommended the project not be encumbered by conditions.

The commission did set conditions, however. Among them was a requirement that dredging spoils from the project be used for Island beach nourishment or climate resiliency. Another requirement was that from May to September, operations and maintenance materials coming and going from the terminal are as limited as possible from the morning to the early evening, except in case of emergencies.

Though he ultimately voted for it, commission member Ted Rosebeck (Edgartown) questioned why the operations and maintenance facility needed to be located on the Vineyard. “If this was located somewhere else, all the other benefits we’re talking about are still there. We still get wind power.”

Newman noted the economic benefits would be lost if the facility were elsewhere. Rosebeck conceded that was true.

Among the anticipated economic benefits are jobs. ACE MV, in conjunction with Bristol Community College, has been offering an offshore wind technician certificate program. Graduates from that program are anticipated to work out of the operations and maintenance facility. 


  1. OK so now that they’ve established we can dig up the beach and create a monstrosity of a bulkhead for the wind farm please let’s approve more dockage in the lagoon for the Islanders. We are in desperate need of dock space.

    • A monstrosity would to be to line the lagoon with docks for silly little plastic boats.
      Islanders need jobs, not silly little plastic boats.

  2. This is exciting to see the movement to wind power, the infrastructure is just the start to a new and promising energy collection. Now if only we could have a national dialogue pertaining to new nuclear power generation a proven power source and one that will allow the atmosphere heal itself from fine particulate matter jettisoned into or air by coal fired plants.

  3. Put me down as skeptical that there will be any real benefit. These turbines will be too big for any port close to the Vineyard – their parts will be too enormous. I would rather have a large marina that would actually have daily use during the summer. Unless the project can clearly state what activities they will be supporting – I am guessing that this is a situation where some emergency boats will be tied up and left for dead.

    Utilizing this waterfront for a non-use – other than mthly support payments and perpetually docked boats – would be a bad outcome.

    Keep in mind these turbines will be close to 7 times bigger than those proposed for Cape Wind a decade ago. Orders of magnitude too large for anything meaningful to be supported from this location.

      • The major components will ship directly to the installation site during installation. There is no purpose in unloading and reloading the components onshore. There will be a jack-up ship with a crane and all needed equipment. separately, there is a dormitory ship used offshore during construction. THe Tisbury site would be for ongoing maintenance use.

        • That is the part that needs to be defined. I am saying that very little real work is likely to be organized from this site. How do you define maintenance? This needs to be described in detail.

          • Routine maintenance will be staged from this site.
            The maintenance will be similar in in nature as to what is required for solar, hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power. .

        • My point, I’m sure he is getting a good lease rate. I am asking will there be any meaningful activity or use?

          For the community, an active waterfront is desirable.

          As a person who managed 3500 MWs of power plants – I am thinking this will be a dead use . Mr Packer will get paid – but town leaders should get a detailed understanding of the actual use and purpose for those boats. Unless, nobody cares.

          • This is private property.
            It’s use is up to owners.
            Packer has always been very active on the waterfront.
            The facility, and boats will used to service the wind turbines.
            As a person who managed 3500 MWs of power plants you should be well aware of the ongoing service needs for high power rotating devises

    • It sure is.
      Consuming hydrocarbons at our current rate is pure insanity.
      Wind and solar have insanely low fuel costs.
      Their emissions are not to die for

    • Agree.
      It is insanity that a project of this size is shooed through the process in one go.
      This has not been thought through.
      It is not needed.
      We do not need a fourth local port for servicing the installation.

      • This is Packer’s property.
        Unless the changes he wants to make to his property can be shown to have a negative on nearby properties what would be the justification for denial.
        This is not public property.
        Katherine, what led you to believe that this is not necessary?
        Other places are spending millions of dollars to attract wind.
        Ralph does not have his hand out.
        He never does.
        Ralph has been involved in moving heavy equipment with boats and barges for decades, perfect fit for servicing wind turbines.
        Ralph’s facility is the closest to the turbines.
        Lowering servicing costs.

  4. Why didn’t the MVC condition this project with only electric vessels docking there? Or test any materials that will contact our local waters. Totally shirked their “responsibility”. At least be consistent in your approach to applicants.

  5. Electrical propulsion is not yet practical for wind turbine service vessels.
    Their trips could last 3 to 4 days.
    What materials are you concerned with touching our waters?
    There is a boat load of local, state and federal agencies watching that.

    When will the MVC rule that the SSA has to go all electric.
    That is an easy reach.
    With 45 minute turnaround times.

Comments are closed.