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Block Island Cable Revamp

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:21

With the first public statement hearing on the proposed South Fork Wind Farm’s Article VII application approaching, Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and National Grid have been ordered to reinstall the transmission cables serving Orsted’s Block Island Wind Farm at their landfall site, Block Island’s Town Beach, after they became exposed. 

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council issued an enforcement order for both entities to reinstall the cables, which were supposed to remain plowed into the seabed but became exposed because of shifting sand and sediment in the surf zone. 

Following a May 14 meeting with both parties, “they have concluded that the most viable permanent solution is to do a directional drill,” Laura Dwyer, an information coordinator with the council, wrote in an email yesterday. The cable is unlikely to be replaced before 2021, she said. “We have another meeting with them in August to make sure they’re on track.”

“We are currently in the design phase of a plan to reinstall a limited segment 

of the Block Island Wind Farm 

cable,” Meaghan Wims, an Orsted spokeswoman, acknowledged in an email on Tuesday. “In parallel, we are exploring whether there are other methods to ensure that the cable is maintained at a proper depth long term. We are working closely with the Town of New Shoreham, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and National Grid to deliver the solution expeditiously.” 

The potential for buried high-voltage transmission cables to become exposed in the dynamic undersea environment is one of many concerns expressed by opponents of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, a 15-turbine installation to be constructed approximately 35 miles east of Montauk. They include commercial fishermen and many residents of Wainscott. Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind, formerly Deepwater Wind, has identified the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane in Wainscott as the preferred landing site for the wind farm’s transmission cable.

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