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Vineyard Wind to pay Mass. town at least $16M for hosting offshore wind project

Vineyard Wind LLC will pay a coastal Massachusetts town at least $16 million as part of a host community agreement to accommodate the company's 800-MW Vineyard Offshore Wind Project.

Vineyard Wind said in an Oct. 5 news release that it agreed to pay Barnstable, Mass., at least $1.53 million in combined property taxes and host community payments for each year of its 20-year power supply agreements with New England utilities National Grid USA, Eversource Energy and Unitil Corp. The pact guarantees the town will receive $16 million from the Avangrid Renewables LLC and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S joint venture plus an additional the $60,000 for every year the project is in operation after 25 years.

As part of the agreement, Vineyard Wind is allowing the town to review its specific plans for a new substation, including transformers, transmission cables and other electrical equipment.

On May 23, Vineyard Wind won the multiutility solicitation to provide 800 MW of offshore wind power to Massachusetts electricity consumers, sparking excitement about the possibilities for a domestic offshore sector. Vineyard Wind submitted an additional environmental review to state officials Sept. 5 after Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said the initial draft environmental impact statement was "inadequate."

Vineyard Wind has said its National Environmental Policy Act review is "well underway," and the company expects to have a draft environmental impact statement from federal authorities issued this fall.

Construction of Vineyard Wind is slated to begin in 2019. The first 400 MW of the facility is scheduled to come online by Jan. 15, 2022, and the second 400-MW phase is to be operational by Jan. 15, 2023.