Letter: Mayflower rep responds to request for more info

Posted 10/5/22

To the editor: 

On behalf of Mayflower Wind, I write in response to Julie McGeoch’s Sept. 23 letter requesting more information on aspects of the Mayflower Wind SouthCoast project. …

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Letter: Mayflower rep responds to request for more info

Posted

To the editor: 

On behalf of Mayflower Wind, I write in response to Julie McGeoch’s Sept. 23 letter requesting more information on aspects of the Mayflower Wind SouthCoast project.  

She inquired about the installation method expected to be used for cable burial in the Sakonnet River. A detailed description of our proposed installation process can be found in our Construction and Operations Plan, located on the “Documents” page of our website, but to summarize, a typical installation involves the following: 

• The cable is loaded onto a specialized cable lay barge. The bundled cable is approximately 13-inches wide. 

• Along the approved route, the cable is slowly dispensed from the back deck of the barge.  

• As it is being dispensed, the cable is fed through a burial tool — typically, a tool called a jet plow or jet sled — which allows the cable to simultaneously be buried beneath the sea floor.  

• The cable burial tool works by using pressurized seawater to fluidize a small section of seabed around the cable, which lowers the cable approximately 6 feet beneath the sea floor. This tool also allows for natural backfill to simultaneously cover the buried cable, minimizing seabed disturbance.  

This process of laying the cable is expected to progress at a rate of approximately one-half to one mile per day, though it may be faster or slower depending on factors such as weather conditions. For reference, the Sakonnet River is approximately 11 miles long.  

As Ms. McGeoch noted in her letter, this process will temporarily disturb some of the seafloor sediment in the area immediately surrounding installation activities, however, this disruption will be very short-lived. Mayflower Wind conducted hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling to evaluate the potential effects on water quality from sediment being suspended in the water column, and from sediment settling back to the seabed. Most sediment will settle out of the water column close to the cable installation point within several hours.  

Ms. McGeoch also asked if alternative cable routes were considered. Mayflower Wind analyzed more than a dozen potential routes to the electric grid interconnection at Brayton Point including several onshore routes through southern Massachusetts and the East Bay, as well as routes to the east and west of Aquidneck Island, and the western passage of Narragansett Bay. 

Many of these alternative routes were ruled out due to factors such as potential conflict with Naval activities, sensitive ecosystems, historically significant areas, and socio-economic concerns (e.g.  environmental justice areas, high-density residential areas, etc.), the details of which can be found in our R.I. Energy Facilities Siting Board application, located on the “Documents” page of our website. Our proposed route, via the Sakonnet River/Portsmouth, has been identified as the rational route to minimize disruption, both environmentally and socioeconomically.  

I encourage anyone that may have questions about Mayflower Wind’s proposal to reach out to me directly (dugan.becker@mayflowerwind.com), and to explore the detailed resources on our website at www.mayflowerwind.com. 

Dugan Becker 

Community liaison officer

Mayflower Wind

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