Un­der­sea ca­ble

Mar­itime Elec­tric says feed­back is welcome on plans for the new power ca­bles

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - rross@the­guardian.pe.ca twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

Mar­itime Elec­tric hears from public about pro­posal for new power ca­bles

When it comes to plans for P.E.I.’s new power ca­bles they could still change af­ter feed­back from the public, says a spokesman for Mar­itime Elec­tric.

John Gaudet, the com­pany’s vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate plan­ning and energy sup­ply, said just be­cause the fund­ing is in place for the pro­ject that doesn’t mean the work plans are set in stone.

“It’s not a done deal. Things can change,” he said.

The plan calls for two 180megawatt ca­bles to be in­stalled by fall 2016 to se­cure P.E.I.’s energy sup­ply from the main­land and keep up with grow­ing de­mand.

Gaudet said the goal is to lay the ca­bles in May or early June with a goal of be­ing fin­ished in time for fish­ing sea­son.

The ships that will be used for the pro­ject will run a con­tin­u­ous length of 16.5 km of ca­ble along a trench at the bot­tom of the Northum­ber­land Strait.

Work will pro­ceed at about 500-700 me­tres per hour with the ca­ble fed from the ship onto a plow dig­ging a trench un­der­wa­ter and lay­ing the ca­ble as it moves.

The July 27 meet­ing was the fourth held as part of the public con­sul­ta­tion process and Gaudet said there will be more.

“We’re try­ing to find out what the con­cerns are and then we’re com­ing back to try and ad­dress those con­cerns so that we’ve got pro­ject pro­po­nents in­stead of op­po­nents,” he said.

The sub­ma­rine ca­bles aren’t the only con­struc­tion needed to bring more power from the main­land.

On the New Brunswick side, NB Power needs to build new trans­mis­sion lines from Mem­ram­cook to Cape Tor­men­tine.

Bob Gar­land, NB Power’s pro­ject lead, said the pro­ject will be a sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion of its trans­mis­sion sys­tem and the first phase of the new lines will be in place in 2016.

The big­gest chal­lenge will be deal­ing with wet­land ar­eas as the new trans­mis­sion lines go in, but oth­er­wise it will be work NB Power nor­mally does, he said.

“There’s re­ally noth­ing out of the or­di­nary for us.”

RYAN ROSS/THE GUARDIAN

Mar­itime Elec­tric spokesman John Gaudet holds up life-sized photos of the power ca­bles that will run un­der the Northum­ber­land Strait by the end of next year. On the right is the size of the cur­rent ca­bles and on the left is the size of the new ca­bles.

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