PORTSMOUTH — Have an opinion on SouthCoast Wind’s proposal to run cables under the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope Bay to transfer electricity from an offshore wind facility?
PORTSMOUTH — Have an opinion on SouthCoast Wind’s proposal to run cables under the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope Bay to transfer electricity from an offshore wind facility? If so, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) wants to hear from you.
On Tuesday, RIDEM issued a 30-day public notice for comments and scheduled a public hearing on the wind developer’s proposal for Thursday, Feb. 22, at Portsmouth High School. The hearing will run from 6-10 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.
RIDEM is one of several state agencies that is reviewing an application by SouthCoast Wind Energy LLC (formerly Mayflower Wind) to construct an offshore wind energy generating facility in federal waters approximately 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 23 miles south of Nantucket within a federal lease area.
The plan calls for connecting that facility via export cables through federal and state waters and eventually to an electrical substation at Brayton Point in Somerset in order to connect to the regional electric grid. To do that, the developers says they would need to run transmission cables up the Sakonnet River, beneath Island Park Beach, up Boyds Lane and Anthony Road, then north before reentering waters in Mt. Hope Bay and making final landfall in Somerset.
RIDEM is considering SouthCoast’s request for a state dredge permit which includes a state water quality certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act.
According to RIDEM, SouthCoast proposes the following:
• Installation, operation, and maintenance of two underwater power export cables and associated communications cabling, each approximately 20.4 miles long.
• Possible placement of fill (i.e., secondary cable protection) in state waters over the proposed underwater export cables to protect segments of the submarine export cables and existing utilities.
• Installation of the underwater export cables at the project’s proposed landfall construction areas utilizing horizontal directional drilling (HDD) with work including temporary excavation/dredging at eight offshore HDD pits at each of the two landfalls on either side of Aquidneck Island in Portsmouth.
The proposed work involves dredging of approximately 1,867 cubic yards (CY) of sediment from eight HDD pits for at total of approximately 14,936 cubic yards of dredging. The excavated material will be backfilled into the HDD pits. Cable burial methods may include a jet plow or jet sled type burial tool. Alternatively, cable may be laid on the seabed and trenched post-lay or a trench may be pre-cut prior to cable installation.
Individuals planning to attend the Feb. 22 hearing who request interpreter services for the hearing-impaired must notify the Office of Customer & Technical Assistance 72 hours in advance of the hearing at 401/537-4029.
If you can’t make it to the Feb. 22 hearing, you may also make your views known in writing. The notice period for public comment ends at 4 p.m. on March 7.
Comments should be addressed to: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Office of Customer & Technical Assistance, Attention: Ronald Gagnon, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908.
For additional information regarding RIDEM’s notice, call Ronald Gagnon at 401/537-4013. Documents related to the notice may be reviewed at RIDEM’s office by appointment by calling 401/537-4029.