The future of the Cape Wind project on Horseshoe Shoal was thrown into uncertainty this week when National Grid and NStar announced they had terminated their contracts to buy power from the private wind developer.
Islanders can expect to see their electric bills go up this winter, with Cape Light Compact and NStar both announcing increases in electricity costs beginning as early as December. Utility companies said the price increase can be attributed to a growing demand for natural gas paired with pipeline constraints.
I have lived on Lake Street in Vineyard Haven for 25 years. A few years ago, I went to pick up my mail at the cluster box under the power lines and saw a crew of workers with chainsaws taking down a lovely grove of small trees that shaded the boxes. I called NStar and was told that they have a mandate from the federal government to keep the rights of way free from vegetation lest something fall on the power lines. Since the power lines are at least 50 feet off the ground, this scenario seemed very unlikely, insofar as the trees were no taller than 12 feet.
Spokesmen for the power company NStar told the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Thursday that they believe the commission has no jurisdiction over a project to install new, oversized utility poles around the Island. The poles have raised the hackles of Islanders and public officials who say they are ruinous to roadside aesthetics and out of character for the Vineyard.