Vineyard Wind onsite construction beginning in weeks

Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller during a press conference announcing the next stages for Vineyard Wind.

Officials with Vineyard Wind say that construction could begin within weeks onsite of the planned 62-turbine offshore wind farm.

CEO Klaus Moeller said in a press conference Monday that the construction is weather-dependent, so he didn’t want to give an exact date, but confirmed it would be within weeks, and not months. 

The wind farm, which is planned for waters 15 miles south of the Vineyard, is still on track to start producing power by the end of the year, Moeller said.

The onshore operations, including three buildings planned for the Vineyard, are expected to be completed by the spring of next year. That includes a helicopter hangar at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, an operations and maintenance building in Vineyard Haven, and a facility to serve as a launching area for transportation boats, also in Vineyard Haven. 

The hangar is expected to be done in the fall, with the operations buildings done the following spring. Work has been ongoing with pile-driving at the two Beach Road properties. The pile-driving, at least for the operations and maintenance facilities, is mostly done.

Moeller said that installation of underwater electric cables began in October, and is almost done; so is landside electrical infrastructure work in Barnstable. 

State, local, and Vineyard Wind officials were on hand for the progress report given Monday at the planned ship transportation area on Beach Road. Cranes and other large construction vehicles were visible on the beach, as were piles that have started to go into the ground at the Beach Road facility.

In front of a crowd of about 30 local and state dignitaries, Moeller said that earlier that day he had seen a picture of the first monopole that will be installed at the wind farm, which he said will be the tallest turbines in the world.

“Guys, this is not something that is happening in the future, this is happening now,” Moeller said. “We are in a special place with this project. It’s starting to go really fast.”

Moeller said that they’ve had 300 union workers on the project; about 90 workers are expected to be working on the Vineyard during peak construction. Moeller said that about half of those 90 workers will be living on the Island full-time. They are looking to help arrange housing for some of them, while others already have housing.

Those workers include operations and maintenance technicians, who will be traveling daily to the site, and working 8-hour shifts. He said the trip to the site is less than two hours by boat. “You can still be home for a late dinner, maybe,” Moeller said.

Aside from onsite technicians, the facilities will employ people with a range of skill sets, such as site managers, planners, helicopter pilots, crew on transfer vessels, support staff, and health, safety, and environmental managers.

“In many ways, Martha’s Vineyard is playing a starring role in this first-in-the-nation project,” Moeller said. “It’s not only where our company gets its name, it’s also going to be our long-term home for O and M for 30 years, creating good-paying, year-round jobs for Islanders.”

Moeller and other speakers Monday thanked town officials in Tisbury and officials with Vineyard Power for putting in the work getting the local project through the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and other permitting steps. 

The Island’s representative at the State House, Dylan Fernandes, called it a “huge frigging deal” that construction would be going forward soon.

“This is 800 megawatts of power for roughly 400,000 homes,” Fernandes said. “But what happens when Massachusetts goes first, like with marriage equality, like with healthcare, all the other states in the nation look to us, and they follow us.”

He noted that gigawatts of wind projects are going into the early stages across the country. “That all started with the leadership of Martha’s Vineyard, the leadership of Vineyard Wind, Vineyard Power, the town, and our state legislature,” Fernandes said.

He also called it a big deal for jobs. He said that the project will include good-paying, year-round jobs for locals. 

The recipient of one of those jobs, and present for the press conference on Monday, was Gabe Bellebuono, a Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School graduate, who has been hired as a turbine technician. 

Bellebuono said that he didn’t know what he would be doing after school. He didn’t have the funds to go to college. He started taking classes at Bristol Community College that prepare students for the offshore wind industry. After that, the “job fell into his lap,” he said, and he encouraged others to jump into the trade. He has recently received training in Oklahoma and then Block Island, R.I. 

Bellebuono’s actual job is to work at the top of the turbines. He says that he’s been training on turbines that are about 400 feet tall. The turbines going in for Vineyard Wind are about 150 meters, or 475 feet. From the base to the tip of the blade at its peak, it’s 850 feet, or almost three Statues of Liberty.

Bellebuono said that on cloudy days, he can’t see the ocean below. On clear days, he can see four different states. “It’s a surreal feeling,” he said. 

Bellebuono says that he tries to keep a clear mind when at the top, and tries not to get nervous. He has experience with skydiving, which he said helped.

But he said that being able to grow up on the Island and then get a job that will allow him to live here was “amazing.”

“I’m honored to be a part of this. Renewable energy is going to lead the way, and I’m incredibly excited to help out any way I can,” Bellebuono said. “I never would have thought I’d be doing this, but it’s all worked out, and I don’t see myself doing anything else.”


  1. So there are lots of really psychologically rewarding high paying stable jobs that are changing the world and undoubtedly providing a better future for our grandchildren associated with this project .
    And yet, we will surely see some comments here that object.
    I don’t mind if rational people have rational and verifiable objections.
    I , along with many others am concerned about the health and safety of marine life.
    But, please, if you are you are going to respond to this comment, have something to back your opinion up.
    I am getting a bit tired of people throwing BS at a fan and thinking it is some sort of “fact”
    Come on– whatever side you are on, please base your opinion on some sort of reality.
    That’s all I am asking—

  2. I’m not totally anti wind but am suspect of this group. It’s a known fact that all solar wind mills leak some level of diesel @ the end of the day MV rate payers won’t see a significant deduction but Vineyard Wind will see nice profits.

    • What is a solar wind mill?
      How will they leak diesel?
      Do diesel companies make a nice profit?

  3. Will try to answer your ???????????? #1 no idea what a solar wind mill is. #2 I would think the shaft that the blades are on must be lubricated with something, synthetic or from a oil well.#3 Yes,lots of profit, lots of ships and helicopters, I have no idea what choppers burn but from a oil well. LOTS AND LOTS of diesels running 24/7 in the construction of the wind farm, at sea and on land. Wait till Beach Rd gets working.I watch the boats on GIS Vessel Locating.They have been out there for maybe a year running around, some will be out there for as long as the wind farm is I would think. Hasn’t Vineyard Wind already gone bankrupt once already. “Enviro” kids didn’t have a clue. Wind power belongs on land. Didn’t I read that these wind mills are biggest in the world. The bigger the machines the bigger the problem!

  4. Donald– Yes, lots of oil to build and maintain these things. Each nacelle will have about 150 gallons of lubricant. But the amount of energy produced in their first year of operation will “pay back” the entire carbon footprint of their construction.
    Vineyard wind has never gone bankrupt.
    Since I don’t have a clue about it, perhaps you could post a link to any articles about that bankruptcy you can find. I am always open to learning.
    You are likely confusing them with Avangrid’s request to cancel the contract they signed for a different project. Avangrid is also involved with the Vineyard wind one project.
    No bankruptcy — They cited an unforeseen increase in construction costs as their reason.
    Sort of like what happened to the Tisbury school project where the contractor asked for and got an additional $28 million above the agreed upon cost.

    These are the world’s biggest.
    And they generate the most electricity.
    Where do you suggest we put industrial sized wind farms on land?
    They recently tore down the relatively small ones in Falmouth because so many people complained.
    And they do not cause cancer.

  5. Donald offshore petrochemical recovery uses lots of helicopters.
    Vineyard Wind was underfunded.

  6. Though I like the idea of wind energy, I am also concerned about what the long range effects of ocean based wind farms will do to the water.

    Is there any current data on the wind farms that have been in place off-shore in the Netherlands, and Germany, and so on for years? Have they found pollution is a problem? Have they noticed any aqua life that has “moved on “, or died out ? This might be a good way to answer our questions and address any fears about wind farms!… It would be a start anyways.

  7. My concern is the potential effect on whales. 6 whales have washed up dead on shores of new jersey following beginning of offshore windfarm production. Apparently the sonar used to map the ocean floor is at a low range (unable to be heard by human ear) that disrupts whale commucation and navigation systems. Has vineyard wind investigated this? What happens if or when whales begin washing up on south beach?
    No one has even mentioned this or may even be aware of these risks. I hope more people wake up and question this project rather than supporting it blindly. There are always consequences to these kinds of mega changes. Some are known. Some are projected. Many are unknown and possibly dangerous and/or deadly to the natural world.

  8. I’ve been a summer visitor to the Vineyard for more than 50 years, but am based in the UK. We have a large number of offshore wind farms as do many European countries. They’re helping us change our energy mix to become cleaner/more renewable. That’s good for climate which is good for oceans. I’ve attached a link to an academic study on the ecological effects of offshore wind. One clear finding is that nobody knows for sure, but it looks like there are definitely negative effects on birds (due to collision), but that the effects elsewhere are mixed with some negative effects during construction (due to noise and seabed disturbance), but then positive effects due to the turbines acting as mini reefs, leading to more aggregation of sea life. The aggregation of fish and mammals is then enhanced because trawling is usually prevented within windfarms. I’m also pro windfarms because of the provision of new jobs that will train/retrain people to have skills to support the transition to net zero. Sorry to butt into a discussion about a place that isn’t my home, but it is one that I love. Here’s that link

  9. Some think these wind turbines will save us millions if not billions of dollars in energy costs. wouldnt you trade a few whales for this kind of savings?

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