More offshore wind cables approved in Muskeget Channel

Some members of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission expressed distrust toward the project. 

A map showing the route planned for the New England Wind 2 undersea cable. —Courtesy MVC

Some members of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) are voicing opposition to the offshore wind industry, which is operating in waters around the Island. 

In an 8-4 decision, the MVC approved the installation of three 275-kilovolt export cables below the seabed in Muskeget Channel, located off Chappaquiddick Island, by the giant energy company Avangrid. 

The cables will connect Avangrid’s New England Wind 2 project to the New England energy grid in Barnstable. 

The cables are planned to be in operation for 30 years, and a decommissioning plan would also undergo review by the MVC. 

The project now will be reviewed by the Edgartown conservation commission, since the cables would be buried, in part, in waters under the town’s jurisdiction. 

The MVC has approved similar cable projects for Park City Wind, which is now called New England Wind 1, and Vineyard Wind, which Avangrid jointly owns with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Muskeget Channel is also the cable route for these wind farms. 

The Edgartown conservation commission had denied both projects’ cabling efforts in the past, but the decisions were reversed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 

In reviewing the project, the MVC deemed that the three new cables would have an overall benefit to the environment, since they are part of Avangrid’s plan to provide renewable energy through the New England Wind 2 project. 

Still, some commissioners expressed concerns over the latest work, especially about how the planned system would affect the seafloor.

Avangrid had already widened Muskeget Channel by 1,000 feet to install cables. It has previously acknowledged that the construction is expected to kill some shellfish. 

Tisbury commissioner Greg Martino said he understood the potential benefits of the project, but he expressed skepticism toward the offshore wind industry. 

He cited the fossil fuels needed to manufacture the turbines, and the boats and vehicles that will service them. 

Ben Robinson, another TIsbury commissioner, said offshore oil platforms are built and operated using “dirty fuels,” but don’t provide the benefits of wind, a renewable energy source.

Edgartown commissioner Jeff Agnoli said he would prefer seeing more money put into conservation efforts to fight climate change, rather than offshore wind turbines. 

Oak Bluffs commissioner Brian Smith said he had a “general distrust” of the offshore wind industry. He also said Avangrid representatives had said turbines would not be visible from the Island, but the Vineyard Wind turbines can be seen “from the water line.” 

“If they lied to us about that, why are we to believe they’re not providing misinformation about the dangers of these cables?” he said. He said Barnstable has erected “warning signs” at Covell Beach about offshore wind cables being buried in the area. 

Robinson said when those statements were made, the best technology available were 7-gigawatt turbines. The Vineyard Wind turbines can each produce 13 gigawatts of power, and Robinson pointed out that although they are taller, there are only 62 turbines, compared with more than 100 initially planned. 

“If we’re really serious about protecting the oceans,” it’s better to have fewer turbines, even if they are visible, he said. 

The measure passed, with dissenting votes from Martino, Smith, Edgartown commissioner Kate Putnam, and Tisbury commissioner Trip Barnes.


  1. I’m guessing the owners of Avangrid (who has put up thousands of these wind farms in 24 states) don’t have any in the sight line of their mansions in whatever country they live in? From the out of scale support buildings in VH, the dirty, commercial platforms in the water which have leaked fuel to the now 60+ 180’ ft towers planned for our pristine waters those island reps responsible for approving this travesty will regret their “yes” votes. Much like the national car companies that jumped on the EV bandwagon before the country even had the infrastructure to support the recharging stations needed in every state. Hertz got rid of theirs and other car companies stopped selling them because nobody wants them. Could everyone just leave our beautiful island alone. Please?

    • Jean, I’m touched by your response. ❤️ I know you love the beauty of the island and you don’t ever want to lose that.
      Does everyone feel that connected with the beauty and peace? I believe so.
      How can we collectively preserve it? You realize that the oceans are rising because the ice is melting all over the world, right? And that when the water rises it’s going to flood more and more?
      Who will lose their homes? You? A beloved neighbor? Maybe the flooding won’t happen in your lifetime, but it is inescapable. Unless we do something to stop it. What can we do? You, me, and our neighbors?
      Well, there are a lot of really smart people who have been studying what we can do and one of the most important things we can do is purchase and install solar panels on our own roof. (They can be purchased off of eBay and installed by your favorite electrician). Only drive an electric car. Hang all of your clothes to dry. Install a small wind turbine to have electricity when it’s not sunny 🌞 outside. (There are double-sided solar panels that can have mirrors or a white rock garden reflecting sunlight on the back or even mounted vertically—vertically is actually the best.) And we can support massive commercial wind farms. I know, it seems counterintuitive when we want to preserve the beauty and charm of the island, however, it is much better than the destruction of the island, don’t you agree?

    • What percentage houses served will have line of sight?
      How many houses had line of sight for for the Somerset coal plant smoke stacks and cooling (thank god they are gone).
      Are the support sheds in VH larger than the MV Shipyard sheds?
      What is the dirt on the commercial platforms. , where does it come from?
      Is it any thing like the dirt on fuel barges, trucks?
      How much fuel has been leaked?
      More than the SSA over the same time period?
      Do you remember when Somerset was pristine, before the coal plant?
      Should “Islanders” be exempt from having to see the means of the production of the electricity they consume?
      Should the rest of America have the same?
      Charging stations have kept paced with EV stations, please stop singing the naysayers song.
      I travel a fair amount, I have yet to see an EV “filling station” without at least one open charging port.
      Hertz over bought out of the pandemic and made insufficient charging arrangements.
      Who has stopped selling EVs?
      Could the Island please generate all of the power it consumes so that other places can be beautiful. Produce what you consume, it’s only fair for the rest of the country.

  2. Just two votes away from denying another industrialization of our oceans that will have no benefit to islanders.

    • The benefit to Cape and Islands is a net reduction in carbon in the atmosphere. This will will help reduce the rate of sea level change increase and the frequency and intensity of storms. Two things that are very real problems in this part of the country.

      • Just not true. No fossil fuel plants will be shut down or even reduce their output due to these so called “clean energy” plants.

        • John– Let me once again post the real time new england
          dashboard for the New England electrical grid.

          At 10:15 am may 20, only .07% of power being consumed
          is coming from wind, and 51 % is coming from the burning
          of natural gas. Keep an eve on this, and watch what
          happens to the LNG percentage when the wind picks up.
          I have seen wind get to over 10%
          Coal is at zero right now. I think it’s pretty obvious
          what has replaced the power coal used to generate.
          Also, you might have heard that the last coal burning
          power plant in N.E will be shutting down soon.
          As the Brandt point coal burner did years ago.
          What do you think replaced that power, John ?
          And just in case there are still some stupes out there
          that think EV’s on the Vineyard are being charged by
          burning coal– well I guess we are getting electricity
          from Pennsylvania and the poor people of Pa. are getting
          “no benefit” from having to breathe the dirty air in their
          neighborhoods. Is that how it works ?

        • John, perhaps you are unaware that seven countries have committed to shutting down all coal plants in the next ten years: Japan, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the US.
          Battery storage will increase by 600%.
          (Going off topic slightly, the improvements in battery storage are amazing! Springs, lifting water or sand, melting bricks, compressed air—and inventions we haven’t thought of yet!)

      • Congratulations! You have won the Rube Goldberg Prize .

        Of course, Nobel Prize winners do not think like Rube Goldberg.

        • Katherine– Nobel Prize winners may not think like
          Rube Goldberg, but they likely are aware of the
          possibilities of their research.
          I doubt they are naive enough to think their
          discoveries or inventions or whatever will only
          have one impact.

    • John– How can you say there there will be no benefit to Islanders ?
      I have to say, of all the arguments against the wind farms, the
      “no benefit” or “it’s all going to New York” are the metaphorical
      equivalent of “dumb and dumber ”
      I think the only thing dumber is something like
      “windmills=dead whales.”
      Come on, John, you can do better. I’m disappointed in you.

      • Name calling is easy but you fail to mention the benefits. BOEM has stated that wind power will have little effect on climate change. The current price agreement for wind is almost 3 times the going rate. About one third of the cost of these plants are paid for by the taxpayer in tax incentives. And they are just plain ugly. Where’s the win here for islanders.

        • John– I don’t see any name calling in my comment.
          You put numbers out here like they are actually true.
          I’m sure that you probably think they are, but I don’t
          think so. My understanding is that the regulators of the
          grid is that they are buying power from VW1 at 9 cents per
          kwh. Their average price from all other sources is 12 cents
          per kwh. I could be wrong– I put links up here all the time
          to back up my statements. But you know, I get criticized
          for it sometimes, and of course some people think google
          is liberally biased. So how about this time, you show me
          the actual pricing. And while you are at it, something to
          back up your 1/3 of the cost claim.
          Not an opinion piece from some oil company, please.
          You can do it– And I would appreciate learning something.

      • John and Don, the island is already benefiting from the current turbines in use. As pointed out before, the cost of windmill electricity for the power company is much, much cheaper than coal or gas. (Customers should demand the savings be passed along immediately!)

        • Mary– as I have pointed out before, since wind is a pretty
          small slice of the pie chart, they could put it into
          the grid for free and it would only lower the overall
          average price by a fraction of a penny.
          And by the way– Officials from V.W 1 never said this would
          lower anyone’s electric bill. Some of the wind-o-phobes
          cried that it would raise the price– not true on any level–
          And again the math is such that if they were putting it into the
          grid for $1 per kwh it would raise the overall price by less than
          one cent per KWH. As far as I know, they are putting it in at 3 cents
          per KWH cheaper than the average mix.
          I look forward to someone proving me wrong.

    • John, where does the Island’s power come from?
      Out of sight?
      Who gets to see that view?
      The Island benefited from the Somerset Coal Plant for decades.
      But could not see it.
      Now the island can see where it’s power is generated.
      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
      Those beautiful old Dutch windmills…

  3. Greg Martino, you cited the fossil fuels used to produce the wind turbines and the fuel for the boats to serve the turbines as the reason you oppose the turbines. There are about 180 tons of the earth used to create the wind turbines and the turbines save about 2000 tons per year of earth (so for a 30-year lifespan of a turbine it saves about 60,000 tons of the earth). The turbines pay for themselves environmentally in about 6 months (if we calculate all of the cost to create them comes from fossil fuels, which it doesn’t anymore because our grid has solar farms and other wind turbines to generate that electricity, so it’s less than 6 months).

      • John, would like to point out an inaccurate use of language: a theory is an unproven assumption and a fact is something in actual existence.
        The physics of windmills are facts, not theories.

        • Anthropogenic climate change/global warming is a theory.
          CO2 as a driver of supposed climate change is also a theory.
          A computer model is not a fact.

      • John, Mary never cites any solid scientific sources for her confident assertions of expertise. IT is all “the science.” No specifics required.

        Of course consensus science is not actual science.

        I urge everyone who comments on these wind-farm related threads to see Climate: The Movie. Then we would have something solid to discuss.
        It is loaded with actual graphs on actual warming, actual sea rise, actual a bunch of things from, say, NOAA. The models have simply not had predictive power. A number of Nobel Prize-winning physicists and others explain how things really work in the upper atmosphere and what the strongest influences on our weather and climate actually are (it’s not CO2). They also explain AGW politics.

        I was disappointed—but not surprised—that the Film Center and VCS’s Environmental Film Festival did not include showing Climate: The Movie.
        It would have led to some interesting discussion.
        It is available for free on Youtube:

    • Mary– I wonder where people get these ideas from.
      I am quite disappointed that Mr Martino, as a commissioner
      who has some actual say in this matter could be so wilfully ignorant
      as to think that there is even the slightest comparison between
      the energy used to make and maintain these compared to the energy output.
      How much energy goes into building a LNG plant?
      How recyclable is an LNG plant at the end of its life ?
      I get tired of this stuff– So here is a simple google search that
      turns up thousands of studies addressing Mr. Martino’s concerns.
      Please take 30 minutes or so to educate yourself, Mr. Martino.;_ylt=AwrFeHh7uEpmiuIR.DEPxQt.;_ylc=X1MDMjExNDcwMDU1OQRfcgMyBGZyA3locy1saXRtdXMtM2QEZnIyA3NiLXRvcARncHJpZANmTzAyc2diRlQ4cXhxNWdNaTQxNThBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMwBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDMARxc3RybAM3OQRxdWVyeQNob3clMjBsb25nJTIwZG9lcyUyMGl0JTIwdGFrZSUyMHRvJTIwcmVjbGFpbSUyMGl0cyUyMGVuZXJneSUyMG91dHB1dCUyMGZvciUyMGElMjB3aW5kJTIwdHVyYmluZSUyMGJsb29tYmVyZwR0X3N0bXADMTcxNjE3MjkzMg–?p=how+long+does+it+take+to+reclaim+its+energy+output+for+a+wind+turbine+bloomberg&fr2=sb-top&hspart=litmus&hsimp=yhs-3d&type=1453461-vsub-tm28

  4. There are a lot of issues here, but Let me directly address Oak Bluffs commissioner Brian Smith.
    Mr Smith– You are quoted in this article as stating your ”general mistrust”
    of the offshore wind industry because you THINK “Avangrid representatives
    had said turbines would not be visible from the Island.”
    In fact Mr. Smith, that is an untrue statement. Now– we can both have opposing opinions about this or that, But you are an elected official. May I implore you to actually have a reasonable understanding of the FACTS before you speak.
    I understand that there is a lot of misinformation going around about this and other
    issues. But The owners of Vineyard Wind One made it clear that they would
    be visible… How do I know that?
    Because I, as an average citizen took the time to look at the final environmental
    impact draft.
    So let me make it easy for you to catch up, Commissioner Smith: here it is, in its entirety– But I know you are a busy person and have lots of important decisions to make about lots of important things. And the report is long and boring for the most part.
    So you can skip all the way down to page 222 where they begin showing the
    simulations of the view from various points on M.V, Nantucket and the cape. You might also note on the right side of each picture there is a graphic of how much of the towers are going to be visible from the point where the picture was taken. Also please note that both actual pictures and simulated ones are at a 50 mm focal length, which is considered closest to the actual view.
    This report was published in June of 2020.We have had nearly 4 years to review this report, and still, we have people who spread misinformation about it. That’s fine for the willfully ignorant common person, but I would hope that commissioners who are making decisions
    would bother to be a little more informed.
    Thank you for your service.

    • Don, Thank you for reposting this! The photos show a pretty good representation. I do believe it’s important to note that Vineyard Wind was honest and straightforward in their communication. A public apology by Brian Smith to his constituents would be appreciated.

  5. Mary–I noticed that the article you cite is over 10 years old.
    The future is here, and every proposed offshore wind farm has
    these systems in the design. However, all 5 lights on each tower
    are required to be on between sunset and sunrise during construction.
    When construction
    is complete, the aircraft detection systems will become operational
    and the lights will on for an estimated time of less than 20 hours per year.
    It could be under 5 hours per year for VW 1 .
    The Harrier adls system is currently the state of the art,
    and can also be used on other structures.

      • Mary– we have to be clear– and consider the mentality of the
        wind-o-phobes. They will never consider going past the first page–
        let alone 221 pages trying to find what you are talking about.
        Make it clear, please– like “you can see these pictures
        starting on page 222”. You can’t expect a willfully ignorant person to
        actually make even the most rudimentary effort to look at the facts.
        Even when the most basic and obvious facts are put directly in their faces,
        they deny, deny deny… Make it so simple a third grader can comprehend it.

    • John– thank you for the link. So your quote is
      that said they would be “marginally” visible on a clear day.
      Of course the term “marginally” is subjective, as is the definition
      of a “clear day”.But, Mr.Smith said “Avangrid representatives had
      said turbines would not be visible from the Island,…”
      that is untrue, and that is why I corrected Mr.Smith.
      Deny it all you want, but they never said they would
      not be visible. In my opinion they are indeed “marginal”
      and I have been to Katama on cloudy or foggy days, and they are indeed
      not visible to the naked eye. I have even been there on
      “marginally clear” days where there is a high cloud
      cover, and they are not even marginally visible due to the
      cloudy background on the horizon. So thank you for confirming my point.
      Do you think the cooling towers at Brandt point were marginally
      visible ? How about the electrical poles on the Edgartown road ?
      The power lines going over the Cape cod canal by the Bourne bridge ?
      The light pollution at night from 30 miles outside of New York city ?
      All subjective ?

  6. None of these comments actually addressed what the article is about.
    For me , I’m concerned on the cumulative effects with multiple cables in such a narrow channel.
    What happens if fish , squid, bait fish… Stop using Muskegett channel because of the EMFs that are omitted?
    Yes , a cable here or there may have little effect , but multiple cables may be a problem.
    I’m surely hoping for the best here but I’m skeptical.
    Time will tell , as always.

    • Jason, this government study says that
      the effect of EMF on fish by undersea
      wind cables is “very low to nil.”
      Can we stop with the Red Herring?
      All of the fishers on the island already
      qualify for the money payoff offered
      by the offshore wind industry.
      No justification is required to get
      the money.

    • Jason– John Axel’s link that he posted on May 21 answers that question quite well.
      But, time will tell.
      I can tell you that a temperature rise of a few degrees
      in that channel will certainly impact fish, squid and baitfish.

  7. Jeff Agnoli, you mentioned that you would prefer to see money put into “conservation efforts to fight climate change, rather than offshore wind turbines.”
    I’ve been puzzling over that statement and I wonder if you were misquoted? Perhaps you said something else and the quote is out of context? Would you please join the discussion to clarify your meaning? Because offshore wind turbines are inherently fighting climate change.
    When the majority of our electricity comes from wind and solar, and we have shuttered all the coal powered electrical generation plants, we will see a dramatic decrease in carbon emissions. Will it be soon enough? There are news articles everywhere talking about a massive glacier melting and when it does sea levels will rise by about two feet.
    Will the water lap at your door or wash away your house?
    Solar on Every roof and massive wind farms must be built immediately! We need to stop driving gasoline cars and drive fully electric cars immediately!
    Approximately half the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastline. What in the world are we going to do?
    You have a position of power, please use that power to save us.

    • Mary– I can’t speak for Mr.Agnoli, but I can assure you that
      many of the same people who are opposed to the wind farms
      are also the one’s whining the most about “Brandon” coming
      for our appliances. One commenter here who is all about saving
      the whales from some mythological danger from the windmills
      has stated a “pox” on led light bulbs. Conservation efforts for the dedicated
      deniers are as antithetical as you can get to insuring a safe environment
      for future generations. We have more than one commenter here who has openly
      stated that they don’t care because they will be dead by the time everything
      hits the fan.
      We have the power to vote– At least until january of 2025

  8. Mary- URI has done some pretty extensive research on EMFs and their findings are NOT nil at all.
    This affect could be severely compounded by the amount of cables and the narrow location. I don’t know , you don’t know , nobody really knows. You’re just betting they won’t be a problem and I am skeptical about it what the outcome might be.
    You’re wrong about fishermen from the island qualifying for relief money. I’ve read that not a person from the island qualifies and very few from surrounding areas.
    MV times had an article a couple months back about this.

    • Jason, You’ve Got to be Kidding!
      the required information is only
      that you commercially fished
      (with a registered vessel) in the lease area
      three years (out of a seven-year period)
      between 2016 to 2022, show a revenue
      (it doesn’t even require a minimum revenue!), have a 2023 NOAA fishing permit,
      provide factual evidence of fishing there by providing your boat location data.
      That’s it.

      Why can’t MV fishermen provide that data?

      The Compensatory Mitigation Program is
      open for online applications until June 3rd.

      “are a commercial fishing vessel
      owner/operator homeported in
      Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
      New York, or Rhode Island.
      have a 2023 commercial fishing permit
      from NOAA Fisheries.
      have a valid government-issued vessel registration that shows vessel ownership,
      or a vessel lease agreement.
      fished in the Vineyard Wind 1 lease area,
      OCS-A 0501, for at least three years
      between 2016 and 2022.
      have annual revenue from fishing activities
      for the corresponding three years between
      2016 and 2022.”

  9. I’m to see people on Martha’s Vineyard are speaking up. This is what local government looks like when not gagged by a ” Good Neighbor Agreement” and corruption.

    • Mary Chalke, thank you! Yes, you’re correct.
      Would also like to say Thank You to MV Times for the continued coverage of the news. This is how we can hold commissioners accountable.
      For those commissioners who ignore factual information, please step aside and allow someone else to govern who is willing to do reasonable research and vote for the best interests of the people.


    It’s not that hard to Google “EMF side effects”.

    Jason Gale is not kidding.

    “There’s disagreement in scientific literature over whether EMFs pose a danger to human health and, if so, how much.
    They suggested that long-term EMP exposure could be harmful to cognitive ability and may induce pathology similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease. They added that more research is needed.
    Also, tentative research suggests that the body’s tissues and its nervous system may be affected by the heat generated by RF-EMFs. A studyTrusted Source conducted on rats and mice suggested that the heat from cellphones affected body tissue heating and nerve activity. Again, researchers said more study is needed.
    Another research review Trusted Source suggested that radiofrequency EMFs might contribute to neurological cognitive disorders. But since the reported research was performed either on cells or animals, its results don’t necessarily apply to people.
    Most researchers said further studies are needed.”

    “Possible symptoms related to EMFs in the studies included:
    memory loss
    loss of concentration
    sleep disturbance”

    “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)Trusted Source has classified non-ionizing EMFs in the radiofrequency range as Group 2B, a possible human carcinogen. These fields are produced by electronic products like cellphones, smart devices, and tablets.
    IARC operates under the World Health Organization (WHO). It convenes working groups of scientists from around the world regularly to evaluate the cancer risks presented to humans by environmental and lifestyle factors.”

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