Deepwater Wind is making another attempt in its five-year effort to keep its five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm alive – this time with a new proposal for a cable landing site on state land at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett.
The revised Block Island Transmission System plan now under review by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management is Deepwater Wind’s response to concerns that arose with an earlier electric-cable landing site proposed at Narragansett Town Beach. Deepwater withdrew that proposal in August.
Days after the proposal was withdrawn, Narragansett Town Council voted 5-0 to deny the request of Deepwater for “permanent or temporary easements needed on property owned by the town, including, but not limited to, the town beach,” said Narragansett interim Town Manager Richard Kerbel.
Even thought Deepwater withdrew its request before the vote, “the council wanted to express its opposition,” Kerbel said.
In a Sept. 27 letter to Narragansett Town Council, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski wrote:
“We have taken seriously the issues raised by the town. So we have proposed a new route that addresses the key concerns we heard: no overhead cables, no use of Town Beach and no switchyard near public facilities.”
The revised plan uses parcels in Narragansett owned by the R.I. Department of Transportation and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.
Grybowski thinks the revisions will be approved.
“There are a couple of important points to note. One is that we’ve proposed to bury the cable all throughout state roads, so there won’t be any overhead lines. So it will be, at the end of the day, a cable that no one will actually see,” said Grybowski.
“Two, the proposed landing location is very near some existing utilities that are already on Scarborough Beach, in particular several large stormwater drains that empty out into the very northern part of Scarborough,” Grybowski said. “We chose a location at that beach that is not the actively managed, recreational part of the beach.”
The cable is to be buried 10-feet under the sand and according to Deepwater, “poses no danger to beachgoers.”
Deepwater Wind’s revised plan includes a 20-foot-tall building for equipment to control the cable, called a switchyard, to be located on a DOT parcel at the intersection of Route 108 and Route 1.