Infrastructure Comm: Vineyard Wind, Eversource rate update, rail

Nate Mayo of Vineyard Wind – one of three companies bidding to sell wind energy – attended the Infrastructure Committee’s February meeting. 

Nate said Vineyard Wind spent the last few years getting ahead of the issues that plagued Cape Wind. He says their plan is to bring the power ashore to Barnstable/Yarmouth, connecting to the Barnstable switching station. Power will be competitively bid upon, with stable electricity rates. Wind energy projects like Vineyard Wind address the mandate of multiple energy sources, eliminating or reducing the need for emergency power during storm events. The wind project is a chance for the Cape to be a partner in modernizing energy resources, he said. 

The Vineyard Wind project proposes about 100 wind turbines, approximately 15 miles due south of the east side of Martha’s Vineyard, with energy going to the grid and then back to the Vineyard (and elsewhere). He says there are five or six lease areas, with three companies bidding to sell electricity. He believes a decision will be made in April on what bids will be accepted. 

If they win the bid, they hope to break ground in 2019, with clean power by 2021. He said wind power is much more cost competitive now, and much of what we think we know is outdated. He says the turbines are more efficient, doubling the capacity, and the engineering is more reliable. 

Austin Brandt updated the committee on the EverSource rate case. He said EverSource filed their final compliance filing and customers should start seeing effects of the rate case on their bills soon, although the tax break has lowered the rate raise to about where it was before. The demand charge for new net metered customers after 2019 has been appealed by the Attorney General, New England Clean Energy Council, and others. 

And finally, the committee discussed the possibility of Southcoast Rail coming to the Cape, with commencement of service by 2022. (“Cape officials embrace commuter rail possibilities” Cape Cod Times) 

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