Vineyard Wind Proposes Local Jobs Through Wind Energy Training Initiative

HYANNIS – A company which has proposed to build an 800 megawatt offshore wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard plans to make a $2 million commitment to job training and career development in the region.

Through the “Windward Workforce” initiative, Vineyard Wind would partner with local community colleges, vocational high schools and other institutions to train students to fill jobs on its proposed wind farm, along with future projects.

“We really see our project as the first of many and really the beginning of an industry and not just one project,” said Erich Stephens, the chief development officer for Vineyard Wind.

Vineyard Wind officials say the project, proposed for 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, will generate enough electricity to power up to 400,000 homes. The proposal is still in the permitting process and calls for construction to begin in 2019.

It is one of three companies seeking to develop and offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

The initiative would train students for jobs that include design, construction, operation, maintenance and engineering.

Stephens said states along the East Coast are beginning to race to be on the forefront of wind energy development in the country.

“The Windward Workforce program is a way for Massachusetts to get a jump on all of that and really pull ahead of the other states and establish Southeastern Massachusetts as the hub of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” Stephens said.

Vineyard Wind has made it through the first step of state’s environmental review.

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office has issued a certificate for Vineyard Wind’s Environmental Notification Form.

The project will now move ahead with the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The DEIR is expected to be issued later this spring and will be subject to additional comment.

Stephens said project officials remain confident that all concerns regarding short-term impacts associated with construction of the Vineyard Wind Connector, which would bring transmission lines to shore on Cape Cod, will be addressed while demonstrating there will be no long-term impacts to the local environment.

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