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In Martha’s Vineyard a New Airport Energy Plan Gets Off the Ground

September 14, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

Hoping to save money over the next 25 years, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission voted on September 8 to buy the bulk of the retail electricity for the island’s airfield from a New York private equity fund that develops solar power facilities, according to a report in the local Vineyard Gazette.

Under the terms of the contract, the airport will buy power from Syncarpha Capital, produced by a solar power facility already completed in Freetown, Massachusetts. The airport will receive a tax credit for buying renewable energy, and then pay a portion of that credit to Syncarpha.

As a government organization, the airport has the ability to procure a larger tax credit than the company would get as a private entity, Commission Chairman Myron Garfinkle told the local news outlet.

Garfinkle said the airport will realize $825,000 in profit from the deal over the 25-year term of the contract. He estimated the airport’s current electricity costs to be about $130,000 per year.

However, some of the other six commissioners were skeptical about the deal, the Gazette said. “They’re going to send us, in 25 years, $825,000 just for signing up and saying fine,” said Commissioner Clarence Barnes. “Why are they being so nice?”

Garfinkle said Syncarpha Capital will earn $3.7 million in tax credits, but would earn much less if it did not partner with a government organization.

“We agree to buy about 80 to 85 percent of the energy we’re using today, and we agree to buy it from them,” Garfinkle told the newspaper. “Once Eversource gives us the credit for that, in the form of a check, we then give a check for less money to these people.

“These are the kind of deals, I don’t want to sound like a snake oil salesman, but they’re not growing on trees. These are good opportunities for us.”

Also at the September 8 commission meeting, Garfinkle said the airport’s new master plan will be ready for review by the Federal Aviation Administration next month, and will include an expansion of the airport business park.

One comment on “In Martha’s Vineyard a New Airport Energy Plan Gets Off the Ground

  1. Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available for entities that pay taxes. Public entities do not pay taxes and therefore cannot get the ITC benefit but if you bring in a private company to own the system, they can get the ITC and provide a portion of that to the public entity.

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