Massachusetts offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind has entered into a host community agreement (HCA) with the Town of Barnstable. The agreement, which has been filed with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), represents another milestone for the United States’ first large-scale offshore wind farm as it advances through the permitting process to the onset of construction in 2019 and operations by 2021.
The HCA requires Vineyard Wind to make annual payments to Barnstable of at least $1.534 million each year in combined property taxes and host community payments. The pact guarantees a total Host Community Payment of $16 million, plus an additional $60,000 (adjusted for inflation annually), for each year the project is in operation beyond 25 years.
The HCA also provides opportunity for detailed review of Vineyard Wind’s specifications for a new substation by the Town, further ensuring protection of groundwater along with reliable delivery of clean energy to serve over 400,000 Massachusetts homes and businesses.
According to the company, transformers and other electrical equipment at the substation will be underlain by full volume, impervious containment systems. Transmission cables, which will not contain any fluids, will be sited under public roads or sidewalks connecting to an existing substation in an industrial park and requiring no changes to the existing electrical transmission system.
The agreement with Barnstable follows the award and execution of long-term contracts between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) to construct an 800-MW wind farm in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and approximately 34 miles south of the Cape Cod mainland. When the Vineyard Wind’s project becomes operational, it will reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year, or the equivalent of removing 325,000 cars from state roads while offering billions in energy-related cost savings over the life of the project.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources reported total net benefits of approximately $1.4 billion for Massachusetts ratepayers.
In addition to federal and state permitting reviews, the project is actively consulting with tribal and local agencies, including the Conservation Commission and Planning Boards of the Towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth. The project will also be reviewed by the Cape Cod Commission.
In total the Vineyard Wind project will face substantial public review and consultations by nearly 30 federal, tribal, state, and local approval agencies, including from the Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, Massachusetts DEP and CZM, the Cape Cod Commission and local conservation commissions.
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind, Policy