A Case Study in Offshore Wind Development:
Partners on Savings, Resiliency, and Jobs for an Island Community

For Vineyard Wind 1, the island of Martha’s Vineyard always loomed large. Located midway between Cape Cod and the project’s lease area, Martha’s Vineyard is 15 miles from the project site. As a close neighbor of Vineyard Wind 1, the island community would necessarily have a critical role to play in public acceptance of the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind development. But Martha’s Vineyard played an even bigger role in – and has received significant benefits from – Vineyard Wind 1 through a unique community partnership formed even before the project had a site.

In 2015, Vineyard Wind signed the nation’s first offshore wind Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the nonprofit Vineyard Power Cooperative. Under the CBA, Vineyard Power became a Community Benefits Organization for the purposes of the first auction of offshore lease areas by the federal government, providing support for Vineyard Wind in its bid for a lease and working with Vineyard Wind to develop a program of economic and other benefits for the island and its residents.

As the only bidder with a signed CBA, Vineyard Wind won its lease, earning a 10% discount on price, and began a long-term relationship with Vineyard Power that has paid off in customized benefits for Martha’s Vineyard. These benefits include energy savings for income-eligible ratepayers; distributed energy and battery storage projects to improve resiliency; infrastructure investments, including modernizing the Tisbury working waterfront; a direct role in project development enabling community concerns to be registered and addressed and for the community to get direct information as the project evolved; and long-term, year-round jobs.

Though unique in its particulars, the Martha’s Vineyard story is representative of the Vineyard method of offshore wind development – community engagement through collaborative partnerships


A Community Partnership

Year-Round Jobs for a Seasonal Economy

Bill Savings and Resiliency Investments

“I was able to study everything here on the island, while working,” said Charlie Rice, one of the first General Electric local hires as an entry-level offshore wind turbine technician. “There are year-round jobs on the island but most of them are seasonal, so to have something stable like this is huge.”