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Wind farm cables cause headaches in Rhode Island  

Credit:  By Jessica Hathaway | National Fisherman | May 21, 2019 | www.nationalfisherman.com ~~

In June 2018, about one year ago, National Grid proposed a buoy-flanked “no-anchor zone” to mark a section of exposed cable during the summer boating season.

The no-anchor zone was supposed to be a temporary solution, but now it looks as if the effort to rebury the cable as well as the wind farm cable that also became exposed will take another two years.

National Grid’s sea2shore 34,500-volt cable connects the island to the mainland and includes fiber optic cable for broadband Internet access on the island. It was supposed to be buried 4 to 6 feet under the seabed when it was installed in 2016. National Grid claims it was unable to meet that requirement after its technicians encountered hard seabed off Fred Benson Town Beach.

The problem got more complicated when the Ørsted (then-Deepwater Wind) cable that transmits wind-generated electricity from the wind farm to the island also became exposed in August 2018. Crews were seen working to move sand from the beach to lay over about 10 feet of cable that connect the farm’s five wind turbines to Block Island.

Ørsted purchased Deepwater Wind, which owned the Block Island wind farm, in the fall of 2018.

In December, Ørsted and National Grid collected information with a remotely operated vehicle to map the seafloor. In January 2019, they continued survey work by analyzing the soil and terrain around the exposed cables.

“Those results suggested that they need to go back to cable redesign,” Laura Dwyer, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, told the Block Island Times. “We have another meeting with them in August to make sure they’re on track. They are talking about splicing their cables offshore, and then directionally drilling, as we suggested the first time, and installing two new manholes” in the beach parking lot.

Cable replacement and splicing is projected to be completed by spring 2021.

In the meantime, steer clear of the buoy markers.

Source:  By Jessica Hathaway | National Fisherman | May 21, 2019 | www.nationalfisherman.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments to query/wind-watch.org.

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