VINEYARD WIND AND NANTUCKET ANNOUNCE COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
For Immediate Release: September 8, 2020
(NANTUCKET, MA) – Vineyard Wind, the Town of Nantucket, and leading Island nonprofits announced today plans to create The Nantucket Offshore Wind Community Fund, which will support local initiatives to combat the effects of global climate change, enhance coastal resiliency, and protect, restore, and preserve Nantucket’s cultural and historic resources.
Vineyard Wind has agreed to provide an initial $4 million when construction financing is obtained for its first project to seed the Fund, which will be administered by the Community Foundation for Nantucket. When its subsequent projects move forward, Vineyard Wind will provide additional funding to further support the Fund, which will also accept contributions from other wind developers and philanthropists. The parties will work closely together to further engage the extensive Nantucket community of stakeholders to ensure that residents and other interested parties are informed of the Vineyard Wind projects and the associated community benefits.
“We’re pleased to reach this agreement, and look forward to a long and collaborative relationship with the community of Nantucket in the years ahead,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen. “Our goal is to not only set the best industry standards, but to also be good neighbors as we work to launch an industry that will create thousands of jobs and take major steps forward in the fight against climate change.”
Vineyard Wind is developing the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., to be located approximately fifteen miles from from Madaket Beach, its closest point on Nantucket.
“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. 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,” explained Nantucket Town Manager, C. Elizabeth Gibson.
In addition to those design changes, Vineyard Wind worked with the Town, the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), and the Nantucket Preservation Trust (NPT) to create a fund to support community-led projects. “This creates a model for other offshore wind companies to follow when engaging with Nantucket,” explained Dawn Hill Holdgate, Chair of the Town’s Select Board.
The Advisory Committee for the Fund will include representatives from the Town, MMA, NPT, and Vineyard Wind. Margaretta Andrews, Executive Director of the Community Foundation, stated, “We are proud to host this Fund and excited to see how it benefits the entire Nantucket community.”
“The Fund will further the important work happening across Nantucket to protect, promote, and preserve the island's unique architectural heritage and sense of place,” said Mary Bergman, Executive Director of NPT.
“Vineyard Wind’s investment in our community will help create more opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science through education, research, and first-hand exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island,” added Jason Bridges, interim Executive Director of MMA.
“This agreement is a win-win for the community and the company, and protects Nantucket’s status as a National Historic Landmark,” said Marion Werkheiser of Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC, the law firm representing the Town in the negotiations.
The Town will announce more details about the Fund in the coming months, with plans for the Fund to issue its first grants in late 2021.
Attorney, Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC
Counsel to Nantucket