BARNSTABLE – Gov. Charlie Baker has signed legislation to allow offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind to land its electricity export cables at a beach in Centerville.
The governor’s signature July 31 finalized the bill enacted unanimously by the Legislature July 22 authorizing the Barnstable Town Council to grant Vineyard Wind an easement for a portion of William H. Covell Memorial Beach. The bill was co-sponsored by state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and state Rep. William Crocker, R-Centerville.
The legislation was needed to grant private use of public lands as relief from a more conservative view of public use of public lands held by the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Barnstable Assistant Town Attorney Charles McLaughlin said. The Town Council already had approved the easement.
Vineyard Wind proposes to build an 800-megawatt wind farm in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and to connect that facility via 115 kilovolt cables through state waters, eventually landing at the beach and leading to an electrical substation in the town to connect to the regional electric grid.
The cable-laying easement is part of a larger deal the company struck with Barnstable that includes a host community agreement worth at least $16 million to the town. As part of the agreement, the company will spend $80,000 to build a beach bathhouse and repave the beach parking lot.
The company must use the easement within 10 years or it will expire, McLaughlin said. Once the easement is used, it would expire at the same time as the long-term lease of federal waters where the wind farm would be built. The compensation to the town for the easement is included in the $16 million, he said.