NANTUCKET – Vineyard Wind, the developer of a proposed 84-turbine wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, will contribute $4 million to a community fund to support island initiatives as part of an agreement between the company and the town.
Once construction financing is secured, the developer will provide the money to the Nantucket Offshore Wind Community Fund to support efforts to combat the effects of climate change, enhance coastal resiliency and protect the town’s cultural and historic resources, according to a statement from the company.
The “Good Neighbor Agreement” between the town and the developer stipulates that the town “shall use their reasonable best efforts to inform federal, state and local elected officials of their support for the projects” as Vineyard Wind goes for approvals at the federal, state and local levels.
The fund was formed in partnership with the town and island nonprofit organizations, and Vineyard Wind will contribute more when more projects go forward and will accept contributions from other wind developers and philanthropists.
As part of the agreement, the town must “convey support for the projects and Vineyard Wind’s demonstration of community engagement” through the fund, according to the agreement. The town also must try to keep residents and visitors informed of the benefits of the project and address concerns as they arise and advise Vineyard Wind on how to engage with the community.
Vineyard Wind’s part of the deal includes the donations, which could continue for future projects, and mitigation measures for the island. Vineyard Wind agrees to paint the wind turbines a nonreflective off-white or light gray to blend in with the horizon and to install a lighting system to reduce nighttime lighting.
At its closest point, the project would be about 15 miles off Madaket Beach.
“When we first learned of the planned wind project, we were especially concerned about visual impacts because our entire island is a National Historic Landmark,” Town Manager Libby Gibson said in a statement. “But Vineyard Wind’s top executives worked constructively with Nantucket leadership to resolve these concerns. They agreed to move the first row of turbines farther away from Nantucket, to install a lighting system that will be activated only when planes are nearby that reduces nighttime lighting to fewer than four hours per year, and to paint the turbines an off-white color to reduce their visibility.”
A committee to oversee the donations plans to issue the first grants in late 2021.
A group of residents on the island, known as ACK RATS (residents against turbines), has come out against the project, citing concerns over the effects on sea life, birds, air quality, visual impacts and erosion.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding