Massachusetts Offshore Wind: Local communities should receive direct benefits
As a country we are beginning to shift our ideas about how & where we get our energy. With vast new technologies and resources emerging locally we have the ability to produce a lot of energy, right here, sourced from renewable wind energy in our coastal waters.
In 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) published a National Offshore Wind Strategy. They set target electricity generation capacity of 54 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, at a cost of $.07/kWh.
To achieve this scenario the Department of Interior (DOI) developed a regulatory framework to facilitate siting, leasing and construction of new offshore wind projects. They labeled this the "Smart from the Start" initiative.
The DOI began to identify Wind Energy Areas (WEA), for potential offshore wind development off the coast of nearly every Atlantic state.
The Massachusetts WEA is over 1200 square miles and sits about 12 miles due south of the island of Martha's Vineyard.
Within the next year the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), a branch of the DOI responsible for managing this area, will hold an auction to lease the MA WEA.
Enter, Vineyard Power Co-op (VPC), a community owned non-profit, 501-c-12, energy cooperative based on the Island of Martha's Vineyard. VPC, formed in 2009, has the idea to build our own, small, 40 MW wind farm in the Massachusetts WEA. The question is, how can we compete in an auction with larger for profit companies?
Since 2009, our island community has been preparing. We have continually lobbied the BOEM to use a lease auction which would give a discount to those developers who hold a community benefits portion in their proposal. We are asking you to sign this petition as an extension of these efforts. VPC believes this levels the playing field between for profit companies and non profit community owned developers.
As a product of our lobbying efforts, Governor, Deval Patrick and local representatives, Senator Dan Wolf and Representative Timothy Madden have lent their support by writing letters to the BOEM in favor of community benefits to be included in the auction process.
We believe that communities most impacted by offshore wind development should receive direct benefits in the form of jobs and stable affordable energy prices. In Vineyard Power's community owned proposal, community benefits are inherent. We would have an operations facility on Martha's Vineyard, employ a grid management system, the electricity would come back to the island, and more money would stay within the local economy.
Help ensure that local communities receive direct benefits from offshore wind farm development by signing this petition.