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Bridges, whales and wind power: Avangrid promises more Park City Wind answers Sept. 5

Cape Cod Times|Graham Krewinghaus|August 12, 2023
MassachusettsOffshore WindTransmission

“The bottom line of this company is not our concern,” Salas said. Ellen Nozzle of Centerville, one of the last of the dozen or so speakers, agreed that an 800-megawatt electrical cable should be brought somewhere with more industrialized infrastructure. “Make no mistake,” Nozzle said. “We are industrializing Barnstable to send electricity to Bridgeport, Connecticut.”


A hearing on the planned cable landing in Centerville for the large Park City Wind renewable energy project drew many concerned residents on Tuesday, most of whom took issue with the plans and almost all of whom said there would be more complaints to come.

The developer, Avangrid, detailed plans to the Barnstable Conservation Commission, over Zoom, to surface an electric cable at Craigville Beach and route it from there underneath Centerville River. The commission did not reach a verdict on the plans Tuesday, continuing the hearing to Sept. 5.

The hearing was initially slated for mid-July before residents raised concerns that not enough notice was given, at which point Avangrid agreed to move it back to this Tuesday. That date presented …

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A hearing on the planned cable landing in Centerville for the large Park City Wind renewable energy project drew many concerned residents on Tuesday, most of whom took issue with the plans and almost all of whom said there would be more complaints to come.

The developer, Avangrid, detailed plans to the Barnstable Conservation Commission, over Zoom, to surface an electric cable at Craigville Beach and route it from there underneath Centerville River. The commission did not reach a verdict on the plans Tuesday, continuing the hearing to Sept. 5.

The hearing was initially slated for mid-July before residents raised concerns that not enough notice was given, at which point Avangrid agreed to move it back to this Tuesday. That date presented its own problems, though, as the Centerville Civic Association had its annual summer meeting scheduled for the same time.

View looking south from the Centerville River Bridge towards Craigville Beach. Property at 2 Short Beach Road is seen at right.
That scheduling conflict was top of mind for many of those who did attend Tuesday’s hearing, and they asked for a continuance so more Centerville residents could have their voices heard. After some discussion, Avangrid and the commission settled on a continuance date of Sept. 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Where would the Park City Wind cable go?

The cable would be routed from the Park City Wind site, south of Martha’s Vineyard and just southwest of the Vineyard Wind site where construction has already begun on a similar wind farm. It would cross Vineyard Sound just a few feet below the seabed, using much the same path as other existing cables, and surface at Craigville Beach.

From there, Avangrid would send the cable through a property on Short Beach Road that the developers recently purchased to facilitate the transmission, and under Centerville River via micro-tunnel. The cable would end at a new substation to be built just north of Wequaquet Lake, according to Tuesday's presentation.

Routing cable over Centerville bridge not feasible, Avangrid says
Barnstable Conservation Commission member Louise Foster asked whether the cable could be routed through the nearby bridge over Centerville River, avoiding risks of micro-tunneling. Avangrid officials said that the potential of flooding damaging the bridge would concern them if they were to go that route.

Later in the meeting, Centerville resident Sandy Jones asked why, given the size of the project in total for Avangrid, the town could not negotiate the developers into building a new bridge to span the river to avoid tunneling beneath it. As with most other questions, Avangrid declined to respond, saying near the end of the meeting that they’d bring more comprehensive responses to the Sept. 5 follow-up.

Most commission members voiced wary support for the plans. Member Peter Sampou called the impact “extraordinarily minimal,” noting that the amount of dredging that would be required in Vineyard Sound would be less invasive that the dredging sea clam harvesters do routinely. If the project is already approved by federal and state boards, he said, he had no problem giving the go-ahead.

Centerville residents worry about harm to marine life

Centerville residents didn’t tend to agree.

Shelly Sterling asked for further review of the potential impact of the oceanic cables on whales, because whale calves are often raised in the area where the wind farm is slated to go and the construction could impair their echolocation. Holly Johnston of Avangrid said the company has developed a “suite” of protections for whales together with the neighboring Vineyard Wind project and did not anticipate any harm.

Anne Salas of Marstons Mills said she is concerned about the coolant oil that would be required in the substation, and what would happen in the case of a substation explosion. Jack Vaccaro of Avangrid clarified a misconception that the substation would not be on Craigville Beach, but far inland in Centerville, and that they did not anticipate any adverse effects on the beach.

Chuck Tuttle of Centerville said the project is among the first of its kind in the nation, saying that “nobody can guarantee it will be accident-free.” He asked that the town require Avangrid to pay a bond to secure against any unanticipated accidents causing damage.

Several people took issue with the fact that most of the electricity would not be used on the Cape
Avangrid had said previously that it would service areas of Connecticut. Salas suggested that the developers should have considered New Bedford as the site to ground cables, since their infrastructure would mean less of an impact on the community there. She said she thought they hadn’t because it would be more expensive.

“The bottom line of this company is not our concern,” Salas said.

Ellen Nozzle of Centerville, one of the last of the dozen or so speakers, agreed that an 800-megawatt electrical cable should be brought somewhere with more industrialized infrastructure.

“Make no mistake,” Nozzle said. “We are industrializing Barnstable to send electricity to Bridgeport, Connecticut.”


Source:https://www.capecodtimes.com/…

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