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Barnstable considered as possible home to Vineyard Wind substation

BARNSTABLE – Vineyard Wind, the company that plans to build an 800 megawatt wind farm 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, may use Barnstable for an electrical sub-station at Covell’s Beach in Hyannis.

Cables would be buried up to six feet below the sea floor, eventually leading to a landing point based on shore. From there, the cables would be extended into an inland grid connection hub.

“We continue our discussions with Vineyard Wind relevant to their proposal to construct transmission facilities that would interconnect with the proposed offshore wind farm in federal waters. We are working toward a final draft host agreement by September,” said Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells.

For the project to get off the ground, it would require a total of over 25 state, federal, and local permits to adhere to its 2019 timeframe.

“We may also have land or easement related authorizations involving the Conservation Commission and the Town Council relevant to where they may request to land, and how they traverse through the Town of Barnstable to the substation up off of Independence Drive,” said Ells.

In terms of safety assurances for residents, Ells has made it clear that a major portion of this agreement would also heavily rely on Vineyard Wind’s assurance that dielectric fluid (the substance used to cool hot electrical components) would not leak into surrounding ground-water or soil, thus making anyone ill.

Hearings to decide the fate of this part of the project are set to take place after Labor Day. As for the wind farm, all operations aspects should be up-and-running by 2021.