EDITORIAL: Don’t let Vineyard Wind lose momentum

Newbury Port News | September 2, 2019

An important piece of the energy future of Massachusetts and New England lies somewhere in the water south of Martha’s Vineyard, and it’s up to federal officials who’ve slowed its progress to make sure the opportunity doesn’t slip away.

Vineyard Wind is a $2.6 billion plan for an 84-turbine, ocean wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Once built and powering electricity — plans are to go online in 2022 — the turbine field is expected to produce up to 800 megawatts of electricity.

That’s enough to power some 400,000 households — well more than either Lori Trahan or Seth Moulton represent in their congressional districts.

A wind farm on such a scale is unusual in the world of renewables, at least in New England. Here those are more typically represented by small clusters of turbines capable of powering a few blocks — not a few communities.

So the stakes are high, especially in light of constraints on Massachusetts leaders to come up with a blend of energy sources that will dilute the state’s reliance on coal and natural gas. The state looks to eventually draw as much as 20% of its energy from offshore wind — a significant piece of which could be represented by Vineyard Wind.

The latest barrier to this long evolving project blew up this past week, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced plans for a deep dive into the impact of this and similar developments that will draw out permitting until next March. Among the questions are those relating to the effect on fisheries and commercial fishing, which are serious concerns, to be sure, albeit ones that have gotten significant attention.

Read the full editorial here.