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.