Con­nected to the Rock

First sub­sea elec­tric­ity cable links New­found­land with Nova Sco­tia

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton -

North Amer­ica’s long­est sub­sea elec­tric­ity cable has been con­nected be­tween the is­land of New­found­land and Nova Sco­tia, Hal­i­fax-based Emera Inc. con­firmed Tues­day.

The 170-kilo­me­tre cable is a key part of the $1.6-bil­lion Mar­itime Link project, which will en­able New­found­land and Labrador’s Crown-owned Nal­cor Energy to pro­vide privately owned Nova Sco­tia Power Inc. with energy from the Muskrat Falls hy­dro­elec­tric project un­der con­struc­tion in Labrador.

The cable is the first of two to be pulled across the Cabot Strait be­tween Cap Ray in south­west­ern New­found­land and Point Aconi in Cape Bre­ton.

It was an­chored at Point Aconi on Sun­day by Nex­ans SA of France, the sub­sea con­trac­tor work­ing for Emera New­found­land and Labrador, a sub­sidiary of Emera.

“With the first of two ca­bles be­tween the two prov­inces in­stalled and an­chored, the Mar­itime Link in­ter­con­nec­tion is now a re­al­ity for Nova Sco­tia and New­found­land and Labrador,’’ Rick Janega, pres­i­dent and CEO of Emera New­found­land and Labrador, said in a state­ment.

“We’ll soon be able to trans­mit elec­tric­ity di­rectly be­tween the prov­inces for the first time, al­low­ing im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity, car­bon re­duc­tion and in­creased re­new­able energy uti­liza­tion.’’

The link will help Nova Sco­tia meet fed­eral reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing a 50 per cent re­duc­tion in coal emis­sions by 2030 and pro­vin­cial reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing 40 per cent re­new­able energy by 2020. Nova Sco­tia Power cus­tomers will pay most of the bill for the project.

In­stal­la­tion of the sec­ond cable is ex­pected to be­gin next month, and Emera has said it plans to have elec­tric­ity flow­ing be­tween the two prov­inces be­fore the end of the year.

The two ca­bles, each the width of a two-litre pop bot­tle, can carry 250 megawatts of high volt­age di­rect cur­rent.

To­gether, they weigh about 11,000 tonnes, which is more than the Eiffel Tower. Their copper con­duc­tors are pro­tected by 13 lay­ers of var­i­ous types of ar­mour, in­su­la­tion, fab­ric tape and a lead-al­loy sheath. They will rest on the ocean floor at depths up to 470 me­tres.

While the Mar­itime Link project re­mains on time and on bud­get, Muskrat Falls is two years be­hind sched­ule and $4 bil­lion over bud­get at $11.7 bil­lion. It was sup­posed to start pro­duc­ing power later this year, but the new dead­line is 2020 at the ear­li­est.

Still, the Mar­itime Link won’t sit idle. Nova Sco­tia Power, an­other sub­sidiary of Emera, is ex­pected to sup­ply elec­tric­ity to the is­land of New­found­land to en­able the prov­ince to shut down its oil-fired Holy­rood gen­er­at­ing sta­tion near St. John’s.

EMERA NEW­FOUND­LAND AND LABRADOR PHOTO

The barge with the sec­ond cable was off­loaded from the heavy lift ves­sel near Syd­ney on May 13.

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