The Vineyard Energy Project promotes sustainable energy choices through education, outreach and renewable energy projects. Our vision is that the majority of island’s energy comes from renewable sources. As we see many countries takes initiative for the proper utilization of the renewable energy resources such as when you travel to New Zealand, 40% of the primary energy is generated by using biomass, geothermal heat and other renewable resources.
Our goals are to:
- Encourage a sustainable approach to our island’s energy needs and establish a long-term, self-sustaining energy effort.
- Produce energy locally resulting in: energy dollars kept in our community, creation of new jobs, better air quality and health, and a reduction in our contribution to climate change.
- Achieve greater energy independence and in so doing, lessen our dependence on foreign fuel resources and diversify our energy portfolio.
- Inspire the island community to employ renewable energy by providing education on energy technologies and related issues.
- And, serve as a model to other communities to do the same.
The Vineyard depends almost entirely on imported energy. We have a large and steadily increasing annual energy bill. There are concerns about the ability of the underwater electricity transmission cables to meet our growing demands as well as political and economic issues connected to the transport of our fuel.
At the moment, we have about 120 solar systems on the island, including 14 solar demonstration sites, and a few wind turbines. Energy efficiency efforts have begun on island houses, municipal and commercial buildings.
Inspired by Samso Island in Denmark, we asked the questions: what can we do to take significant steps towards becoming a renewable energy island? What can we do to positively impact our future approach to energy?
In 2004, The Vineyard Energy Project, hired C.T. Donovan Associates, Inc. to answer those questions. A 10 Year Energy Action Plan is now available, outlining the best projects for the Vineyard to undertake, given our resources. Included are strategies for energy efficiency, solar, wind, biomass and transportation projects.
There are many reasons that this work is important. Rising fuel costs are going to be of greater concern to budgets. Barnstable County has been rated by the EPA as having some of the worst air quality in the State and Dukes County can’t be all that different. Climate change is already impacting our weather patterns. People liken climate to a beast that we are poking with a big stick.
The Vineyard Energy Project, however, would like the island to focus on the idea of greater energy independence; a desire to be forward-thinkers; to be planning for a new energy future before it is forced upon us.