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Cape Cod Times

Windy with a chance of a solar: Top energy projects coming to the Cape and Islands in 2023

By Heather McCarron, Cape Cod Times,


Brisk winds are blowing on energy-related enterprises on Cape Cod as 2023 approaches, but there's plenty of sunshine in the forecast, too, not to mention efforts aimed at preventing the public from having to wander around in the dark when storms tax the power grid.

Of the top energy projects to watch, offshore wind dominates, with no fewer than three — each at different stages of development — in the works as Massachusetts moves to become a top player in helping the nation reach its sustainable energy goals.

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Also among the top projects is a sizable solar farm eyed for part of the Cape Cod Golf Course in Falmouth, in addition to a project Eversource is working on to upgrade power transmission capabilities between Bourne and the Mid-Cape.

A very windy outlook for 2023

Vineyard Wind is the trailblazer of the wind-energy bunch. The nation's first commercial-scale, offshore wind project will employ 62 mega-sized turbines to harness the winds south of Martha's Vineyard, generating 800 megawatts of electricity annually, and powering the equivalent of 400,000 homes and businesses. The enterprise is 50% owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and 50% by Avangrid Renewables.

Andrew Doba, Vineyard Wind's director of communications, said the project, which will land at Barnstable's Covell Beach, is on track to start delivering power in late 2023 and to be in full operation by 2024.

Work on permitting began five years ago, and ground was broken on the project last fall. Onshore, crews are installing the duct bank system under roads that will encase the transmission line carrying power from Vineyard Wind to a Hyannis substation. Submarine cable installation — undertaken by Prysmian Group — began last month 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, and near-shore cable work is in the works.

“To get to this point has required an amazing effort by the Vineyard Wind team and we are proud to work with Prysmian, a company with world-class experience dedicated to creating jobs in Massachusetts," Klaus Moeller, Vineyard Wind CEO, said.

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The submarine cable installation will continue into early 2023. Vineyard Wind is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, equivalent to taking more than 310,000 cars off the road, according to the company.

Park City Wind is coming up on Vineyard Wind's heels. The 804-megawatt project, owned by Avangrid Renewables, calls for bringing transmission cables ashore at Barnstable's Craigville Beach to ultimately deliver power to Connecticut.

"Park City Wind is more than halfway through its state and local permitting process, having completed the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act environmental review process and a substantial portion of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) review process," Craig Gilvarg, director of communications for offshore wind at Avangrid, said.

Benchmarks for 2023 include hearings by the Cape Cod Commission and the Barnstable Conservation Commission.

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Park City Wind, which is expected to supply about 14% of Connecticut’s electricity, will power about 400,000 homes and businesses per year and cut greenhouse gases by about 1.6 million tons annually.

Commonwealth Wind, also owned by Avangrid, is the largest project, with plans to generate 1,232 megawatts — enough to power 700,000 homes and businesses, according to the company. The wind farm is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 2.35 million tons per year, equivalent to taking more than 460,000 cars off the road.

The company is proposing to land Commonwealth Wind's three energy transmission cables at Barnstable's Dowses Beach. The proposal has inspired a group of residents to form an ad hoc community group called Save Greater Dowses Beach in opposition to landing at the beach, an estuarine environment they believe is too fragile for such a large project. The residents are circulating a petition, both on paper and online via, and raising money to hire an independent environmental consultant to weigh in as permitting gets started.

That project is just starting its permitting process as 2022 comes to an end.

"Commonwealth Wind recently initiated the environmental review phase of the project with MEPA after filing the Environmental Notification Form, and recently filed its petition with the Energy Facilities Siting Board," Gilvarg said.

Benchmarks for the project in 2023 include developing the Draft Environmental Impact Report and Final Environmental Impact Report as part of the state Department of Environmental Protection's review, as well as beginning the public process and hearings for the state's Energy Facilities Siting Board and initiating local permitting.

Wind projects like these first three are expected to play a significant role in realizing President Biden's national goal of generating 30 gigawatts of wind power by 2030.

"The lease areas of Massachusetts have a capacity of 11 gigawatts," state Rep. Jeffrey Roy, D-Franklin, House chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said. "So we alone have over a third of the national goal. It's simply amazing."

He said waters south of the Vineyard are shallow, which can accommodate fixed towers into the ocean floor.

"It's also the most robust wind in the entire contiguous United States, so it's a perfect conflation of location and wind speed," Roy said.

In his role as a chairman of the legislative committee, he has been pushing to take advantage of "this incredible capacity that we have."

"The potential is enormous. It's a robust source of clean energy, a robust source of new jobs, and it's clean and green," he said. "I am truly excited by what I see."

There are seven wind lease areas south and southwest of Martha's Vineyard, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Solar power project on Cape Cod

Energy development on the Cape is not just all about wind, though. Another project expected to see progress in 2023 is a proposal for an extensive solar array on part of the Cape Cod Country Club in Falmouth.

Town Meeting in June 2021 approved two zoning articles related to the project, proposed by Amp Energy, a renewable energy company that plans on leasing the property. The project will consist of about 42,900 solar panels, covering 56.7 acres of the 134 acres on the property.

Trees and plants will be left in unused areas or will be replanted in line with local and state guidelines. The remaining land will be used as open space for the community, such as a planned sledding hill. Additionally, the area underneath the solar array is planned to be a pollinator meadow consisting of native plants to help assist with ecosystem revival once the golf course closes.

If approved, the project would generate about 29,217-megawatt hours of energy in its first year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home in Massachusetts in 2021 used 596 kilowatt hours of electricity per month or 7.152 megawatt hours per year. Based on the expected electricity production of the system, the solar array would power about 4,085 Massachusetts homes annually once it's fully operational.

"We are proposing to purchase the land from the current owner, donate it to the town of Falmouth, and then lease the land back from the town for the duration of the project's lifespan," the Amp Marketing & Communications Team explained in an email. "The land would be fully owned by the town and revert to its use once the lease term has expired."

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The terms of any donation or leaseback have not yet been negotiated, between the town and the company, but that is expected to start once more substantial progress is made on permitting. At present, Falmouth's Conservation Commission has completed its wetlands review and gave its approval in June.

"The next steps are to formally submit the project's application package to the town of Falmouth's Planning Board for automatic referral to the Cape Cod Commission and their review," the communications team said. "We are hopeful to make this submission in early January."

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After the commission's review, the proposal would return to the town's planners for their final review. That board's approval is needed for construction to proceed.

"Ideally we can complete all permitting efforts by the end of 2023, as the permitting review and timeline for both the town and Cape Cod Commission is expected to be lengthy," the company said.

With the necessary approvals, construction could begin in 2024.

Eversource project designed to increase reliability of energy delivery on Cape Cod

Another energy project to watch in 2023 is Eversource's "Mid-Cape Reliability Project," which company spokesman Chris McKinnon said, "is part of our ongoing work to strengthen, modernize, and upgrade the transmission and distribution electric system across our service territory to improve system reliability for our customers."

"These types of system improvements enhance system reliability during severe weather and increased demand for electricity," he said in an email. "Our customers on Cape Cod are no strangers to the effects of severe storms, and we are working every day to ensure that we provide safe, reliable electric service to them."

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Specifically, Eversource wants to build the new line between its new substation in Bourne and its West Barnstable substation, which would be expanded to accommodate the new line. The company said the route, which passes through parts of Bourne, Sandwich and Barnstable, runs about 13 miles within an existing power line corridor.

The project, if approved, is expected to go online in 2024. Original plans called for construction this year and becoming operational next year. McKinnon said an option related to offshore wind endeavors was added to the project design, resulting in the new timeline. The additional option, he explained, "will increase line capacity and allow the new transmission line to support expected future offshore wind power, the additional cost of which will be funded by the wind power companies."

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The project will require approval from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, which includes both public and evidentiary hearings. The panel is expected to discuss the project during a remote meeting via Zoom slated for 1 p.m. on Dec. 15. For more information, visit:

To learn more about the siting process and how to participate, visit the board's website at

Contact Heather McCarron at

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