Wind Futures

At a time when the economic and ecological costs of fossil fuels continue to climb, Vineyarders are growing interested in the power of wind.

Following decades of almost no wind power generation on the Island, proposals are starting to pop up across the Vineyard to generate electricity through wind turbines.

In recent weeks, boards in Chilmark and West Tisbury together have approved three new wind turbines, essentially doubling the number of modern turbines now operating on the Island.

Tisbury already has put up a tower to evaluate its wind-generating capacity. West Tisbury, Edgartown and Aquinnah are looking into their own towers.

All told, about ten wind turbine projects are in some stage of planning on the Island.

But the regulatory landscape is a bit bumpy and hard to navigate, as recent applicants for wind turbines can attest. Creating a uniform regulatory code across the six Island towns for wind turbines would be a major benefit. So too would be some kind of strategic Islandwide mapping that shows the best places, both in terms of power and aesthetics, for placing wind turbines.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission, which is already studying the Island’s future energy needs through the Island Plan, is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in both efforts. Here is a place where the commission can help bring the Vineyard closer to an Island that sustains itself.