Vineyard Wind 1 to produce energy by next year

MVC discussed the proposed maintenance building for the offshore Vineyard Wind farm.

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A rendering provided to the commission showing the proposed Vineyard Wind maintenance building at 69 Beach Road.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission held a public hearing Thursday evening regarding the proposed construction of a maintenance building to facilitate work on Vineyard Wind 1.

The proposed Vineyard Wind maintenance building, which will be located at 69 Beach Road, is a considerable undertaking for Tisbury based-construction company Sourati Engineering Group LLC, with plans for a 36,000-square-foot combined office, storage, and parking structure.

The offshore substation and wind farm with 62 General Electric Haliade-X turbines, Vineyard Wind 1, will be located 15 miles south of the Island coast, and will be instrumental in providing clean energy to over 400,000 homes — “an equivalent of removing 325,000 vehicles from the roadways,” according to Vineyard Wind’s mission statement.

Vineyard Wind 1 will be capable of generating and transferring a total of 800 megawatts each year via substation collection.

The building will be raised to feature a ground-level, open parking lot, allowing storm water from the coast to flow underneath the building, which is located within a FEMA velocity flood zone. Per zoning compliance, the property will allow for flowing storm water to be contained to prevent flooding abutters by increasing permeability of the site. 

Building designer and property owner Sam Dunn referred to the building as having “the shape of the future,” with longevity of about 65 years, and capable of withstanding storm surges. 

Dunn said efforts were made in the design process to align with Vineyard vernacular and aesthetic. The property will include a “fragmentation” of the building in order to avoid a “box” look from the road.

The 36-foot-tall building will feature solar panels on a galvanized metal rooftop, and a wood panel and Hardie board exterior, and will serve as a “headquarters building for Vineyard Wind operations.” 

Commissioners raised concerns about the design plans, with some applicant-provided renderings lacking accuracy, in addition to landscaping issues, and questioned if there will be enough room for truck traffic. 

Further, the commission took note that the proposed building size seemed to have increased. Operations and maintenance preparations engineering consultant Sarah Schweitzer told the commission that the building was meant to be even bigger, but was limited. 

Commissioner Ben Robinson questioned the size. “I couldn’t really tell if there was further space added,” Robinson said about the presented plans, or “everything just got incrementally a little larger.” 

Compared to other wind farm operation facilities, Schweitzer said, “this is the smallest operations facility that will be developed.” 

“It’s always easier to go bigger if you have an opportunity to go bigger,” Robinson said, on the apparent changes, and questioned the efficiency of the space. 

“It’s not 100 percent efficient,” said Dunn, noting that the fragmented building serves to be aesthetic.

Referring to previous plans that were provided to the commission, MVC chair Joan Malkin questioned why that is, adding, “The plans have changed, they don’t look nearly as nice.”

Vineyard Wind 1 LLC cited plans to “make available on-Island market-rate rental housing to any worker who needs it,” per its proposal submitted to the MVC, and expects to employ only Island residents by year five of operations. 

According to Schweitzer, Vineyard Wind 1 is set to begin delivering electricity by the fall of 2023. On the approval of the maintenance building construction, she told the commission that “it’s critical to have this facility up and running in alignment with that timeline.” 

The public hearing will be continued at the July 7 commision meeting. 

22 COMMENTS

  1. But andy said this will never happen.
    And since andy is always right, I don’t see why the Times is even writing about this subject.

  2. So a company from another country gets to trash our beautiful waters for fishing, views,
    wildlife and underwater habitat installing the largest off shore wind farm in the country and now they also want to take over thousands of in town land and harbor front for their administrative needs? Thanks anyway. Happy to pay a bit more for my electricity if they would just leave us alone. Before you respond with anger take a look at the disbanded farms with no place to put their blades. They just bury them in fields to rot away.

    • Correct.

      Proponents of wind energy promise consumers basically free electric power, without doing elementary accounting of both upstream and downstream embodied-energy costs, both in $$ and to the environment. People who own EVs— delighted to drive for free (after purchasing the vehicle for mucho thousands of dollars) do not count the high upstream costs, including for mining and refining rare metals, transportation, disposal, etc., needed to produce the vehicles, and their batteries. (The same can be said regarding the costs of all-new “green” appliances and presumably landfilling the old ones. The idea of not owning a personal vehicle, of hanging out one’s laundry to dry, and other such energy frugality is not part of the rosy green future.) The costs of mining and refining rare metals, of manufacturing and then disposing of giant blades, etc. are borne in faraway lands such as Vietnam and blade dumps who knows where. The fiber-glass blades are transported to the USA on giant ships that burn heavy bunker fuel—residual fuel oil.

      Environmental costs of offshore wind are borne by species such as the right whale and migrating birds.
      A comment printed recently in the MV Times made by a local “green” leader was cringe-worthy. He enthused as to how the current excitement over the wind industry as a job generator was an echo of the buzz on the waterfront in those thrilling days of yore when young men swarmed the docks looking to ship out to hunt the whale. Yes, whale oil not only lit the picturesque old lamps but also literally oiled the gears of industry. So, the animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in a process that was grisly for man and beast—until fossil oils came on the scene. Now the ca. 350 remaining individual right whales have the right to be protected wherever they choose to complete their natural life cycle and, hopefully, increase their numbers. Furthermore, they contribute mightily to the marine ecology that generates a large portion of our atmospheric oxygen.

      But they are in the way of offshore wind towers and cables.
      It seems fitting that New Bedford, the epicenter of Massachusetts whaling, should retain pride of place in the offshore wind industry that may deliver the final blow to right whales.
      The city has already spent tens of millions on modifying its waterfront, an industrial waterfront with rail and road access, as an operational support hub for offshore wind.
      Similar support hubs are being developed in Salem. And in Kingston, RI.
      There is no need for operational support infrastructure in little Vineyard Haven.

      But no one here says boo, because “green energy.”

    • We have a capitalist economy, the contract went to the low cost provider.
      Yes the provider is forgien, Trump spent four long years suppressing our domestic wind industry.

      Where are the disbanded wind farms?
      The service life of turbine blades continues to increase along with the development of profitable recycling techniques.
      Jet engine turbine blades are also life limited and must be disposed of.

      They bury spent nuclear fuel rods in fields to just rot away.
      They don’t let anybody live near them.

      The nice thing about nuclear is that Islanders don’t have to see any of the detritus, that’s for poor people.
      God forbid that Islanders should have the source of their power in view.
      It is all so ugly.

    • What did the 400 foot tall cooling towers for the Somerset coal fired generators do to the beautiful water views?
      Should the Island have a coal plant in place of wind?
      Share the uglyness of power generation.

  3. Jean- you bring up some interesting points.
    First, you mention foreign corporations– really– do some research about any large corporations doing any business in the U.S. This project, despite what some right wing nut case opponents might say, is mostly a us endeavor.
    Just to give you a place to start– look at TOYOTA.
    What are ” thousands of in town land and harbor front for their administrative needs?”
    Thousands of what ?
    And it seems you are acknowledging that electricity generated by wind farms will be cheaper– that’s a first from the opponents–
    And please– you don’t really want me to shred your comment about the disposal of the spent blades , do you ?
    we have already been there…

  4. Jean- You won’t get any anger from me.
    But you will get some facts.
    Vineyard One is jointly owned by 2 companies.
    50% by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners , Based out of Denmark ( they know a little about windmills)
    AND
    50% by Avangrid Renewables, Based out of Portland Oregon, — That’s in the United States of America.

    The properties in Vineyard Haven are privately owned.
    As long as any structures are built in accordance to building codes, the business is properly licensed, and in an area that allows for the type of business in question, ok by me.
    They are building an office building. My Dunn has consistently taken public input on previous projects , and has already stated that the design will take esthetics into consideration.
    Would it matter to you if they were going to build a warehouse for Black Dog merchandise ?
    On the sound side of beach road, any new development has to be related to marine activities.
    I doubt they could make it any uglier than what is currently there.

    I understand your concerns about the actual esthetics of and environmental impacts of the turbines themselves. That has been thoroughly debated.

    The blades are made of a fiberglass and carbon composite that is currently not recyclable.
    They are inert. They do not rot, at least not on a time frame of centuries.
    They are 351 ft long, and about 20ft wide at their widest point. I could not find actual specifications of the width of these particular blades , but my guess is probably pretty close.
    They have a projected life span of about 30 years.
    So in 30 years we will have to figure out what to do with 186 of these blades.
    Goodale’s pit could easily accommodate a few thousand of these things.
    But they could be used for a variety of things, including breakwaters to help protect shorelines from erosion caused by storms. Skateboarders would love to use them as skating pipes. If we are creative , who knows what they could be used for?

    while we are talking about what to do with the end of life waste products, we have large slag ponds around the country from mining and burning coal that occasionally breech their containment systems and irreparably contaminate rivers and ponds.
    The company decommissioning the Pilgrim nuclear power plant (Holtec) it trying to dump millions of gallons of radioactive waste into cape cod bay, and is building huge containment silos to house the depleted fuel rods, which have to be constantly monitored and guarded for at least hundreds of years, as they have the potential to make everything from Boston to the Vineyard permanently uninhabitable. — excuse the run on sentence please.

    There is a big picture here. As long as we continue to use the vast amounts of electricity that we do, we will have to generate it. There are trade offs with everything.
    If the worst my grandchildren’s generation has to deal with are large inert objects, I’ll take that over a cooked , contaminated or radioactive planet.

    You make no mention of the jobs or the tax revenue this business will pay to the town.

    Respect.

    • Humanity has a 95% probability of being extinct in 7,800,000 years, according to J. Richard Gott’s formulation of the controversial Doomsday argument, which argues that we have probably already lived through half the duration of human history. I think Keller’s grandchildren are safe.

  5. I am a supporter of this project. No one I know has said the energy will be free, it it will be carbon free. Once the project is up and producing electricity almost everyone will say “why didn’t we do this 40 years ago?” To me the wind turbines are a sign of hope that we can change to save places like this island. If we continue to burn fossil fuels as we do now there will be no view from the island because it will be under water.

  6. If this goes forward we will be left with nothing but regret and a contaminated brownfield 2/3 the size of the the Grand Canyon, in what is now one of the most pristine and rich ecosystems in the world. This, with our endangered whales, will be gone forever for……wait for this…. electricity. How does this make any sense?
    I am shocked over the lack of public opposition.

  7. Mary– could you please explain any possible scenario related to this windfarm that could turn 1255 square miles ( 2/3 the size of the grand canyon) of pristine ocean into a “contaminated brownfield”.
    The entire vineyard one project occupies only 260 square miles after all.
    Honestly, If I thought there were any possibility that 1255 square miles of pristine oceanic environment were at risk of such a catastrophic outcome, I would immediately change my mind and voice my opposition to it.
    I welcome comments from anyone who can explain to me how such an outcome would be possible.

  8. Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. You can’t reason with ideologues.

    • Andy–I agree, you can’t reason with ideologues–
      Especially if they are willing to lie and willing to deny reality to fit their narrative.
      All you have to do is scroll up a few comments and read Mary’s prediction.
      She is entitled to her opinion about the possible fate of whales. I am also concerned about the whales, and this project could certainly have a negative impact on their well being.
      But when she makes an absurd comment about the size and scope of the possible devastation, I will point out that she is wrong. My comment won’t change any minds of course, but it would be helpful if we just kept the lies out of the discussions here.
      I really don’t know how to deal with that kind of stuff. I actually think some people have gotten so used to lying to fit their narrative, that they don’t even know they are lying despite verifiable proof that they are.
      As an example that you can relate to personally, I honestly believe that you think I did not accept your generous offer to donate $1000 to the M.V. hospital back in March of 2020.

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