CHATHAM –The Cape Cod Fisherman’s Alliance held a community meeting with representatives of Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Power on Wednesday night in Chatham.
Both companies detailed their plans for a major wind farm off the Vineyard coast and heard concerns from fishermen about its potential impact.
“We’re here to explain a little bit more about what’s happened up until now, what are some upcoming next steps, and to continue the dialogue with the fishing community,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Eric Stevens.
Vineyard Wind won a federal bidding process to develop offshore wind on sites selected after a lengthy process.
The company is required to solicit input from fishermen before moving forward, and have met with more than 20 fishery groups since March 2016.
“This isn’t a relationship that starts and ends within a five year period, this is something that’s going to be going on for 25-30 years or the life of the turbine,” said Vineyard Power General Manager Erik Peckar. “We’re really looking forward to working with the fishermen and hearing feedback from them.”
Currently the company is in the third phase of their project, which is site assessment and characterization.
Both companies have said that they will not be asking for fishing restrictions around turbines, but there are multiple issues related to how fields of large poles with transmission lines in the ocean bottom might affect both access and habitat.
The state passed legislation last year that requires utility companies to purchase off shore wind and the first solicitation comes out this summer.
The winner of the solicitation will begin to develop the site and construction could begin within two years.
Once construction takes place, the lease runs for 25 years when it will either be extended or decommissioned.
Vineyard Power President Richard Andre said that the project will generate 2,000 construction jobs and hundreds more that will be ongoing like machinists, welders and technicians.
“We want all of those jobs to be located on the South Shore that’s what Vineyard Power’s all about, it’s about capturing those local jobs,” said Andre. “It’s going to be a transformative industry for us on the south coast.”
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