Vineyard Wind and partners showcase new jobs

Vineyard Haven expected to be a hub of offshore wind work.

A visitor to the career fair takes a virtual reality journey. — Rich Saltzberg

Vineyarders got a chance Thursday, April 28, to learn more about the jobs available to service and monitor Vineyard Wind 1, the nation’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm. Vineyard Wind 1, which broke ground last year at the Centerville landfall site of its export cables, will have a significant presence on the Vineyard. 

A maintenance marine terminal on Vineyard Haven Harbor for the 62-turbine wind farm has been largely approved and permitted, and a parcel was recently acquired at the old Hinckley lumberyard on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven for an operations and maintenance building. At Martha’s Vineyard Airport, a hangar has been secured for a maintenance helicopter operation. Companies that will place personnel at these locations set up shop in the Oak Bluffs library Thursday evening, pressing the flesh, handing out brochures, and at some career tables, offering virtual reality goggles for simulated travel to the soon-to-be-built wind turbines. 

Among the companies at the job fair was General Electric, maker of the turbines to be used in the wind farm, and the company that will also maintain those turbines. With the turbines’ 853-foot height as measured to the tip of their rotors, comfortability with heights will be a prerequisite for those who’ll maintain the turbines. 

About 20 potential employees visited various booths while The Times was at the fair.

Mike Hanson, General Electric senior manager of site operations, told prospective employees during a presentation that General Electric will be hiring 18 technicians of various levels, two lead technicians, a field engineer, two site managers, an environment, health safety and quality manager, a planner, and two warehouse managers.

Speaking to job seekers, Jennifer Cullen, Vineyard Wind manager of workforce and supply chain development, described the wind farm overall as a “utility-scale power plant” that will generate electricity sufficient to power 400,000 homes. 

“This is the first project, but there are many more lined up after us,” Cullen said in reference to other wind farms slated for federal lease areas south of the Vineyard. 

Cullen said New Bedford will be the “main construction port” for Vineyard Wind 1, but operations and maintenance “long-term jobs” will be in Vineyard Haven

Cullen also said Vineyard Wind has a lot of partners on the project, and gave a big nod to Vineyard Power, which she said helped the project in many ways. Vineyard Power president Richard Andre and Vineyard Power general manager Erik Peckar were among those greeting would-be wind farm personnel at the event. 

Other Vineyard Wind 1 project partners include Semco Maritime, which will be installing and maintaining cables, foundations, and substations; Seaward Services, which will operate the crew transfer vessels, Avangrid Renewables, which will oversee the long-term operations of the project; and RPS, which will provide observers for protected species. 

Operations and maintenance preparations engineering consultant Sarah Schweitzer told prospective employees what the estimated time was to reach the wind farm by boat and helicopter from the Vineyard. 

“The transit time by vessel is about an hour and 45 minutes without any sea restrictions, and by helicopter it’s about 15 minutes,” she said.  

Schweitzer also said the coming operations and maintenance building in Vineyard Haven will be erected on stilts to make sure it’s above any potential flooding in the area. Beach Road is close to sea level, and portions of it regularly flood. 

In a brief interview with The Times, Richard Bowen, procurement director for Semco Maritime, said his company, which has worked on a number of European wind farms, enhances the local economy when it works on a wind project. 

“Every community that we’ve moved into in establishing an offshore wind farm has experienced robust economic growth,” Bowen said. “In fact, we were in New Bedford yesterday talking with some local fishermen. They were worried about the fish. And we said the experience we’ve seen in Northern Europe, in Denmark for example, is that the wind farms actually create new habitat, and actually lead to an expansion of marine life, which actually improves the fishery. Sportfishermen especially love it. I know we’ve seen that around Block Island. What we’re going to do, we believe, is create really good, high-paying jobs … that have lots of opportunities for career growth. Even opportunities to take these skills and work on other projects.”

Bowen went on to say Semco will be looking to establish local supply chains, and has already spoken with Granite City Electric in Vineyard Haven to foster a supply relationship. 



  1. Not going to happen due to lawsuit litigation. This will be scuttled.
    US Energy Information Administration reported that offshore wind continues to be one of the most expensive forms of electricity generation. By 2026, the EIA expects producing one megawatt-hour of electricity from offshore wind projects will cost about $121, or more than three times the cost of producing that same amount of energy with natural gas ($37).

    • Andy –You say “Not going to happen due to lawsuit litigation. This will be scuttled.”

      Double or nothing ?

      I will donate my winnings to Planned Parenthood .

  2. 62 windmills 900 feet tall? That is 3 football fields tall. These will be clearly visible from all vineyard south facing beaches. Hundreds of additional windmills to follow in the near future? A new industrial dock complex in Vineyard Haven Harbor? A new maintenance building built on stilts on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven to be built in place of housing that was being proposed? A new helicopter area at the airport to fly workers over Martha’s Vineyard to the Windmills year round? An under sea cable installed along Wasque point just off shore? How many more cables will be required as the additional hundreds of windmills get installed? Is anyone concerned about how all this will affect the aesthetics and natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard? This will all be implemented without any special consideration on the electric rates paid by Vineyard residents? This will change the character of the Vineyard forever. Is anyone concerned about the impact all of this will have on the Vineyard? Does this really make sense?

    • Kirk — All developments impact whatever community they are in.
      But let me address some of your concerns.
      As far as I can tell, the tips of the blades of some of the towers will be above the horizon.
      On a very clear day, you might actually see them. There is some dispute about that, however. While the formula to determine the visibility of an object over the horizon (1.17 times the square root of its height = Distance to the horizon in nautical miles) indicates the blades will be theoretically visible it will be a rare day that it is clear enough to actually see them with the naked eye.
      I might also point out that if you look northward towards the cape, there are many windmills that are entirely visible.
      We have waterfront in V.H that is already developed, and quite frankly, not the most pleasing thing to look at. Perhaps someday we won’t need those oil tanks.
      I think it’s a good idea to put any building on stilts in such a low lying area as old Hinkley site.
      The proposed housing project would have been on stilts also. Something will go there. What difference does it make what it is? The property is privately owned.
      We have an airport— commercial and private planes and helicopters fly out of there all the time. What’s the issue ?
      I don’t think a cable buried under the seafloor is going to have much of an impact on the
      aesthetics and natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.
      I am also pretty sure that the electrical infrastructure on the cape will be maxed out, or pretty close to it with these cables. Future cables will have to make landfall in other places.

      I appreciate you taking the time to articulately express your concerns. That is what a healthy debate is about.
      But as long as we continue to constantly increase the demand for electricity, we will need to constantly increase our generating capacity. In today’s NIMBY climate, it’s unlikely any community in this area would tolerate a new power plant that burned some kind of fossil fuel, or a nuclear plant.
      These machines are the physical manifestation of our insatiable appetite for energy.

      • Send the landfall cables through the Canal to Sandwich. Plenty of infrastructure there to handle the power.

    • Climate change is coming for our ponds and birds and animals and plants, not to mention our roads and houses. An undersea cable and a warehouse on the abandoned site of Hinckley’s is what you’re worried about?

  3. The nice thing about the Island is that we don’t have to see all that ugly power generation stuff.
    We leave that to the poor people.
    Let them host the coal plants with their 300 foot tall cooling towers, so pretty.
    Their smoke stacks make for spectacular sunsets

  4. This is neither a comment for or against wind energy, but Jennifer Cullen needs to be honest in her statement about how many homes can be supplied with the energy generated by the offshore wind turbines. Wind turbines are electric generators that use the energy of the wind to produce clean, emissions free power. However, wind power is intermittent and variable, so a wind turbine produces power at or above it’s rated capacity about 30% of the time, according to GE, the manufacturer of the turbines . So, an 8MW turbine produces about 21,000,000 KW/year (8MW x 365 days x 24 hrs/day x .3). The average home in NE uses about 7500KW/year. 1 turbine will then power about 2800 homes. 62 turbines will power about 175,000 homes, a significant amount, but not 400,000 as Jennifer says. If the number of turbines increases to about 150, then, yes, 400,000 homes is correct. As Kirk states, there are a lot of other issues to consider.

    • Bill – you forgot to include the amount of time these turbines are operating at something less than their rated capacity, but still producing electricity.

      • Don – The three main factors that determine power output are wind speed, air density, and blade radius. Every wind turbine has a different range of wind speeds, typically around 30 to 55 mph, in which it will produce at its rated, or maximum capacity. At slower wind speeds, the production falls off dramatically. If the wind speed decreases by half, power production decreases by a factor of eight. Conversely, if the wind speed doubles, power production increase by a factor of eight. On average, wind turbines do not generate anywhere near their rated capacity. Industry estimates project an annual output of 30-40%, but real-world experience shows that annual outputs of 15-30% of rated capacity are often typical.

        • Bill – Thank you for that explanation of dramatic increases or decreases in power output.
          I also found your exact statement on .
          It is a site that I think is credible.
          Of course, we know that winds are stronger at higher elevations, and turbines get more efficient with size. These will be some of the biggest and tallest mills in the world, in an area that has a lot of wind. They may or may not out produce the industry averages.
          We will have to see.
          Your criticism of Ms. Cullens statement is in my opinion valid.
          I appreciate you keeping them honest.

          • Correcting some misinformation above: capacity factor depends on the equipment and the location. For Vineyard Wind, the estimate is 45% or more, based on a detailed study, as cited in their filing with the BOEM in 2020.

            The project is 800MW. At a capacity factor of 45%, that amounts to 3.1 TWh per year. More than 400,000 households, confirming the statement of the Vineyard Wind rep.

          • Don – my mistake in assuming 8MW turbines. If using the new GE 12MW Halide X turbines that GE indicates are 45% more efficient than any wind turbines now installed or available on the market, then Thatcher (and Jennifer) are correct in stating that about 400,000 homes can be served

          • Bill great for you to say that.
            It is very difficult sometimes to figure out what is really going on with some stuff. We are inundated with information from many points of view with many facts about how things compare. Sometimes there is a deliberate effort to put out disinformation.
            In this case, what you were mentioning was absolutely true, but there are so many factors, it’s difficult to discern what is absolutely true and what is mostly true.
            Sometimes however there are deliberate lies, like “the government will pay for it”, or some people will tell you there are hundreds of yards of cement around each monopole. — Just for the record– no cement will be around the monopoles. None–

  5. Bill, they don’t want it to be true. The government will pay for it so it doesn’t matter to them because 50 percent of people don’t pay taxes. Stick it to the filthy rich.

    • Andy– Interesting take on the taxes. Most years Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and almost certainly trump pay no taxes. Trump did pay $750 in taxes 2 years in a row.
      I think they should pay something, don’t you ? Or do you only want to tax people with incomes under $50,000.
      But you seem to be having one of your illogical juxtaposition moments on this one.
      You have 4 completely discombobulated “thoughts” in your comment.
      But I am curious about why you think the government will “pay for it”.
      What is “it” ?
      And thanks once again for telling us what “we” think or want.

      • Keller, those people you mentioned paid all the taxes they were required to pay under the IRS code. Do you want to pay more than you are required? Please do.

  6. if you are truly opposed and want this scuttled…GE Haliade X will not be able to withstand future hurricanes of 120 MPH…sure to come…that’s what sustainable energy is all about…how to contend with upcoming changes…offshore wind is not prepared for those changes…using Europe as an example is meaningless…they do not have seasonal hurricanes…the waters off MV does have them…with lots more to come…check it out…not going to work as advertised…BETCHA…!

      • rotational hurricanes are the key issue…there are zero offshore wind farms in Europe of the scale soon to be off the coast of MV…in the direct path of storms that will get continuously worse…this is not about today…

        check the wind farms off China that have failed in Typhoons…hard to find info but it is there…GE claims Haliade X is “Typhoon Proof”…PROVE IT…!!!

  7. 45% offshore. These are 13MW turbines, 800MW farm capacity. 3.1GWh per year, approx 420K homes.

  8. One thing we have all learned throughout the pandemic is things constantly change and facts 2 years ago are not facts today. However one thing appears to be a constant, who is going to profit from this? Follow the money.

    • Kirk– IF this all works out, the corporations and the investors will profit from this.
      It’s a system we call capitalism .

  9. The construction of this wind field will put many wildlife around the island at risk. Most notably the right whale which is almost extinct

    On top of that it, these turbines cannot survive a category 5 storm. These turbine fields have tens if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil in the turbines for lubrication, that could end up in the sound if hit by a category 5 storm.

    • There is no crude oil in a wind turbine. That is just silly.

      Future wind farms are killing right whales? Please explain how that is happening?

      About all the existing Wind Farms in the North sea.

      Can you tell us how you came to the conclusion that this new design of the Halide X from GE cannot survive a storm? Surely you do have actual data to share.

      • ask GE and Vineyard Wind to explain how the yaw motor will rotate the nacelle to face into the oncoming wind when that wind will go from SW to NE as it passes over the wind farm…there is no way the yaw motor can keep up as the hurricane passes…the locked and feathered blades will be hit from the side…there is one GE Haliade X in existence…in Rotterdam…on the land…zero real time testing has been done…ask Vineyard Wind to explain…they cannot…forget the oil issue…who will pay to remove the eyesore of twisted whirlygigs on the MV horizon…how’s that for an answer…I have more…
        from last spring…

  10. Just hop on a jet to Puerto Rico, drive to Naguabo.
    Hurricane Maria turned the wind farm into a pile of junk.
    That was just wind!
    Imagine what adding the impact force from multiple 60+ Ft. High waves would do!

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