Partnership will catalyze advantages of clean energy generated by offshore wind to lower electricity bills for low-income residents, fund community-based energy storage projects
Citizens Energy Corporation and offshore wind developer Vineyard Wind today formally announced a Resiliency and Affordability Fund that will contribute $1 million in annual funding for 15 years to provide substantial and self-sustaining low-income and community benefits to towns that host the off-shore wind project.
The Vineyard Wind Resiliency and Affordability Fund will fund distributed battery energy storage and solar projects in local communities as well as provide credits directly to low-income ratepayers’ electric utility bills. Projects supported by the Fund will be implemented in New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable and Yarmouth and across Bristol County.
Projects will include solar and energy storage projects and will demonstrate how decentralized battery energy storage will enhance reliability as Massachusetts continues to expand renewable energy resources such as offshore wind.
“We are proud to work with Vineyard Wind to spread the benefits of renewable energy to low-income families and host communities,” said Citizens Energy CEO Pete Smith. “We have a deep commitment to helping households in need and advancing the cause of renewable energy. Our partnership with Vineyard Wind allows us to accomplish both.”
“Vineyard Wind deeply appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with Citizens Energy,” said Erich Stephens, chief development officer with Vineyard Wind. “Partnerships with social enterprises like Citizens will help ensure that wind energy off the coast of Massachusetts creates new economic development opportunities, increases community investment, and delivers clean energy that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing energy security and reliability.”
Vineyard Wind’s first contribution to the Fund is planned for 2019, once construction of the offshore wind project begins; the project will be the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the US. Through the Resiliency and Affordability Fund, Citizens Energy will immediately benefit host communities through an initial contribution of $500,000, which will be deployed as a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency improvements to multi-family, low-income housing in the host communities. The Fund will deliver significant and on-going benefits to these communities in the form of bill-credits for low-income residents’ electricity bills, and back-up power and cost savings for public buildings.
Direct benefits of the Resiliency and Affordability Fund include:
Distributed battery energy storage that enhance systems reliability and resiliency through community-based deployment of distributed battery energy storage
Community benefits in New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable, Yarmouth and other communities in Bristol County through funding for energy storage and solar projects that provide back-up power and energy cost savings for public buildings
Ratepayer relief in communities hosting the Vineyard Wind project in the form of bill-credits for low-income residents
In its work with Vineyard Wind, Citizens Energy will draw on nearly 40 years’ experience in energy efficiency work, renewable energy development and low-income energy assistance programs. The Fund will be administered by, and projects implemented by, Citizens Energy and Vineyard Wind’s community partner, Vineyard Power. An advisory committee, composed of representatives from each of the host communities, will help identify new project opportunities and guide funding decisions.
About Vineyard Wind
Vineyard Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the US, to be located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables.
Avangrid Renewables is one of the nation’s largest developer / operators of wind energy projects. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) manages over 5 billion Euros in clean energy investments including offshore wind, onshore wind, and offshore power transmission. The partnership of the two companies in Vineyard Wind brings extensive offshore wind expertise and substantial financial capability to the Commonwealth’s initiative to build offshore wind projects in Massachusetts. For more information about Vineyard Wind visit www.vineyardwind.com.
About Citizens Energy Corporation
Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston-based non-profit founded in 1979 by former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, has a long history of using revenues from successful commercial energy ventures to finance charitable programs to help the poor. Starting in the oil and natural gas industries, Citizens also launched innovative businesses in the health care, electricity trading, and energy conservation fields. More recently, the company expanded into the solar, wind and transmission industries – in every case using profits from its ventures to help the poor wherever it operates.
For Citizens Energy: Brian O’Connor, 617-338-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org