Community Foundation Announces First Offshore Wind Fund Grants

Nantucket Current •

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One of Vineyard Wind's first GE Haliade-X turbines southwest of Nantucket. Photo by Kit Noble

The Community Foundation for Nantucket on Friday announced the recipients of $780,000 in grants from the first cycle of awards from the Offshore Wind Community Fund established pursuant to the Good Neighbor Agreement between offshore wind farm developer Vineyard Wind and the town of Nantucket, the Nantucket Preservation Trust, and the Maria Mitchell Association.

The funds are intended to support community projects and initiatives related to protecting, restoring, and preserving cultural and historic resources, coastal resiliency, climate adaptation, and renewable energy.

A seven-member voting advisory committee of Nantucket community members with expertise in historic preservation, coastal resiliency, and renewable energy, including representatives from town of Nantucket and Nantucket Preservation Trust, reviewed the grant requests and made funding decisions with support from the Community Foundation for Nantucket.

This year’s grant awards include:

Town Of Nantucket- Total award: $223,078

  • Department of Culture & Tourism -Virtual Visitor Guide
  • Cemetery Commission- Historic Colored Cemetery Walking Tour Virtual Guide
  • Department of Public Works- Solar project on Nobadeer Farm Rd. Field House
  • Planning and Land Use- Historic Properties Survey Plan
  • Sewer Dept.-Solar project on Surfside Rd. Sewer Plant
  • Landbank & TON Select Board- Washington Street-Outreach and communication.
  • Wannacomet Water Company- Solar project on main office building

Nantucket Preservation Trust – Total award $304,453:

  • Design and printing of annual preservation magazine, Ramblings, for two years.
  • Reprinting Off Centre: The Wesco Acre Lots, The Houses and Their Histories
  • Integrity and Condition Study of the Nantucket Historical Land District to document major changes that have occurred since its destination in 1966.
  • Preservation Easements Program that works to support the creation, administration, and defense of historic preservation easements.

Community Fund -Total award: $254,462

  • First Congregational Church Community Group- Stormwater Management Project
  • Independent Order of Odd Fellows- Energy Optimization Heat Pumps
  • NHA Properties, Inc./Housing Nantucket- Solar panels for affordable rental units
  • Nantucket New School & Strong Wings- Solar power system for campus buildings
  • Linda Loring Nature Foundation- Resilience Restoration Project at North Head of Long Pond
  • Mass Audubon Nantucket Sanctuaries- First phase of Forest Management and Resilience Initiative at Lost Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Artist Association of Nantucket- Preservation of Permanent Collection
  • Nantucket Historical Association- Year 2 of a disaster and climate risk management plan for historic properties.
  • Nantucket Island School of Design- Solar panels on historic Long Shed Ceramics and Fine Arts Studio building
  • Nantucket Conservation Foundation- Solar panels at Squam Farm
  • Nantucket Conservation Foundation- Engineering and design steps for Nantucket's first raised bridge at Medouie Creek
  • Nantucket Boys & Girls Club- Solar panels for the main building

“The Community Foundation for Nantucket is excited to bring our expertise in grant review and impact monitoring to the process to help launch projects which address climate change impacts,” said Sunny Daily, executive director of the Community Foundation for Nantucket.

The so-called “Good Neighbor Agreement” with Vineyard Wind bound the town, the Nantucket Preservation Trust and the Maria Mitchell Association to commit their support to the offshore wind energy project in exchange for $16 million to mitigate the potential historical, cultural, and economic impacts of the turbines on Nantucket.

Vineyard Wind will make additional payments into the fund totaling $12 million in the next 6 - 8 years.

Applications for this grant cycle opened November 17, 2023 and the second round of the applications will open later this year.

“The Town of Nantucket is pleased to help launch the Offshore Wind Community Fund. We have consistently advocated for the need to avoid and minimize adverse effects from offshore wind developments and to mitigate adverse effects that cannot be avoided. The Fund is the first of its kind in the nation and provides a model for future offshore wind projects and for historic communities nationally. Mitigation funds administered directly by communities themselves are an important tool in helping achieve balance between large offshore energy developments and adverse effects communities will realize over the development’s lifespan,” said Nantucket town manager Libby Gibson. 

The initial $2.5 million payment and the establishment of the fund is “the first of its kind in the nation,” according to the Nantucket Community Foundation.

The “Good Neighbor Agreement” was negotiated by the town’s special counsel, Cultural Heritage Partners. In addition to the mitigation payment of $16 million, the agreement also requires Vineyard Wind to paint the turbines a “non-reflective off-white/light gray color to blend into the horizon” and to install an aircraft detection lighting system (ADLS) which will only turn on if there is an aircraft in proximity to the turbines.

Under the terms of the agreement, the town, the Nantucket Preservation Trust, and the Maria Mitchell Association are required to “convey support for the projects” and “ensure that Nantucket residents and visitors are informed of the benefits of the projects.”

“Historic preservation has long been part of what draws people to Nantucket and this fund is an opportunity to help protect Nantucket’s cultural and historic resources. We are looking forward to seeing what projects the community puts forth and watching these initiatives come to life,” said Mary Bergman, Executive Director of the Nantucket Preservation Trust.

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