PROVIDENCE – In recent filings with federal regulators, Deepwater Wind has followed through on a promise to bury transmission lines that would run through Narragansett as part of a plan to connect its proposed offshore wind farm near Block Island to the regional power grid.
The Providence company filed an amended plan with the Army Corps of Engineers on May 31 that calls for burying new power lines in Narragansett, rather than running them overhead on poles. The Army Corps is the lead permitting agency for the transmission project.
The move came after residents and local officials had raised concerns about the visual impact of stringing additional overhead lines along a 0.8-mile route from the Town Beach to a new switchyard off Mumford Road.
The amendment marks a return to the original plan presented to the public in 2011. The company made the initial change to overhead lines because it was less costly and more straightforward than digging up roads to bury lines, according to Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.
But in early May, in the face of growing opposition to the company’s plans in Narragansett, Grybowski said Deepwater would go back to the original proposal for putting the lines underground.
His announcement followed a vote by the Narragansett Town Council to suspend talks with Deepwater for a month so that its members could have time to learn more about the company’s plan to install five wind turbines in waters about three miles southeast of Block Island and run a 22-mile transmission cable underwater to Narragansett.
The month-long break ended this week and the council voted on Monday to hold a public work session with Deepwater on June 26.
The transmission cable is an integral part of Deepwater’s project. On most days, the 30-megawatt wind farm would produce more power than Block Island requires. The excess electricity would be sent via the cable to the New England power grid. And, when the wind isn’t blowing, the cable would send power back the other way, from the mainland to Block Island.
The cable would come ashore at the Narragansett Town Beach parking lot and then run east along Narragansett Avenue and Kingstown Road and through Sprague Park to the switching station.
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