Con­tract goes to Korea

LS Ca­ble awarded a por­tion of the new sub­ma­rine ca­ble pro­ject be­tween P.E.I. and New Brunswick

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY DAVE STE­WART dstew­art­the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

“For us, it’s a pretty sig­nif­i­cant amount of work. There are peo­ple work­ing on this full-time, year-round to try and make it hap­pen.’’ Kim Grif­fin, Mar­itime Elec­tric

A Korean com­pany has been handed part of the task of car­ry­ing out per­haps the big­gest in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject in P.E.I. since Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge was built.

LS Ca­ble has been awarded a $54-mil­lion con­tract for a por­tion of the pro­ject that will see two huge, new elec­tri­cal cables in­stalled un­der the seabed of the Northum­ber­land Strait.

The pro­ject, which was orig­i­nally sup­posed to take place this sum­mer, will now be­gin in Oc­to­ber and should take two to three weeks to com­plete, weather per­mit­ting.

Mar­itime Elec­tric has al­ready handed over a $6-mil­lion down pay­ment.

“We had to or­der that in ad­vance and put a de­posit down or we’d never meet the time­line to meet it at the end of this year,’’ said Kim Grif­fin, cor­po­rate spokes­woman with the util­ity.

“It was cer­tainly a risk, but we felt that it was re­ally im­por­tant.’’

The en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment part of the pro­ject is still on­go­ing. If there are any prob­lems, Mar­itime Elec­tric will sim­ply put things on hold.

The pro­ject in­volves 34 kilo­me­tres of sub­ma­rine ca­ble. The ca­ble it­self is about 10 inches in di­am­e­ter, en­abling it to carry a sig­nif­i­cantly larger load, which will go from 200 megawatts of trans­fer ca­pa­bil­ity to 560 with the four cables.

The in­stall sched­ule was set fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tions with lob­ster fish­er­men. The fall sched­ule is least dis­rup­tive to the fish­ery.

The ex­ist­ing cables are nearly 40 years old and aren’t buried very deeply in the strait. Those cables are also filled with a type of oil that has leaked in the past. The new ones do not have oil and are filled in­stead with a type of plas­tic.

The pro­ject, which is cost­shared be­tween the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial govern­ment, is es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $120 mil­lion and $140 mil­lion. The pre­vi­ous fed­eral govern­ment com­mit­ted $50 mil­lion.

There are a num­ber of marine bi­ol­o­gists em­ployed, as well as en­gi­neers, sur­vey com­pa­nies and peo­ple who are help­ing de­sign the ca­ble, map­ping the route and han­dling changes that will need to be done to the util­ity’s sub­sta­tion in Borden-Car­leton.

“For us, it’s a pretty sig­nif­i­cant amount of work. There are peo­ple work­ing on this full-time, year-round to try and make it hap­pen.’’

Grif­fin said the con­tract was awarded to a Korean com­pany be­cause there are no com­pa­nies in North Amer­ica able tomake the ca­ble.

New scan­ning tech­nol­ogy has iden­ti­fied a pos­si­ble river bed with a soft struc­ture that will al­low the two new cables to be well buried this time around.

Elec­tric­ity from the new cables should be flow­ing by Novem­ber or De­cem­ber.

Con­sumer elec­tric­ity rates likely won’t go down but should be lower than with­out the new cables.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

While the two sub­ma­rine cables that will con­nect P.E.I. with the main­land haven’t ac­tu­ally been built yet, Kim Grif­fin, cor­po­rate spokes­woman with Mar­itime Elec­tric, says this is ex­actly what the in­side of each one of them will look like. The pro­ject in­volves about 34 kilo­me­tres of sub­ma­rine ca­ble with the ca­ble it­self mea­sur­ing roughly 10 inches in di­am­e­ter.

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