Islanders who showed up to a “community conversation” expressed approval for Eversource’s cable projects during Tuesday’s event hosted at Chef Deon’s Kitchen/Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Oak Bluffs. Team members from Eversource were available for attendees to ask questions, with small information tables about the project.
Eversource has plans to replace the faulty cable that provides Martha’s Vineyard with electricity, alongside plans to add a fifth cable to meet the Island’s growing energy needs, according to an information packet the company had on hand. The packet stated that the estimated in-service date for the cables will be December 2024. Additionally, there are plans to decommission and remove five diesel generators as a part of the company’s effort to decrease its carbon footprint.
These efforts were met favorably by attendees.
“I think everyone is in favor of replacing the cable,” Alan Strahler, chair of the Edgartown energy committee, said. “It’s certainly a big improvement, and we certainly like it … the more we rely on our own power, the safer our resilience is.”
Strahler also said he was glad the diesel generators will be gone in the future.
Jack Ensor, who is also a part of the Edgartown energy committee, commended Eversource’s efforts, and said it was important “to become a more sustainable entity as an Island.”
“We’re still tethered to the mainland, and we need our own power,” Ensor continued.
Attendee Bob Johnston commented that battery storage will be a key issue, and Eversource is looking into bigger batteries, and to spread the storage capacity on the Island.
“They’re burying it underground. I think it’s a good thing,” attendee Craig Downey said about the new cable. “We’re going to need it, a reliable power source.”
Ray Elliott was an engineer who worked on one of the barges when the Okonite Co. put down one of the Island’s first cables in 1986. He expressed how important it was for the cables to meet the energy demands of Martha’s Vineyard. “With the increase in population, increase in voltage, and all that stuff, it’s critical for the future. The fact that they have several cables laid there and a backup system in place is important,” Elliott said.
The Oak Bluffs planning board was briefed on the project last week, and expects it will be referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.