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Home: Canadian Construction News: $140 Million Underwater Cable Project Between PEI and New Brunswick Begins

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$140 Million Underwater Cable Project Between PEI and New Brunswick Begins

Written by; Fraser Boone / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun May 01 2016

  


Prince Edward Island electric power supply company, Maritime Electric, are beginning work on adding 2 new underwater electric cables between Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) and neighboring New Brunswick. The $140 Million (CAD) project has received approval from the province and federal Canadian government to proceed with work starting this weekend.

The official announcement was made Friday by Energy minister Paula Biggar in the Legislature.

"Major environmental impact assessments for the project have been approved by the governments of Canada, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island," said Biggar. The minister stated that the review included consultations with the First Nations, P.E.I. Fishermens Association, and stakeholders.

The new underwater electric cables will allow Maritime Electric to import up to 360 MW of electricity from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, which is a much larger benefit from the four decade old cables currently in place which deliver 200 MW to PEI.

The utility stated that the demand for electricity peaked to 262 MW in 2015. A portion of that power comes from wind energy generated on the Island, but when that is not available Maritime Electric currently has to compensate with a higher priced form of energy from its fuel fired generators.

Additionally, the new cables will allow for more export of wind energy from the Island to New Brunswick.

The initial work has begun this weekend.

The work involves pre-trenching on both sides of the Northumberland Strait. This is to ensure that there are no rock obstructions encountered when the two cables are installed later this autumn.

A gigantic piece of equipment called a starfish made in Belgium has already been installed to do the initial pre-trenching work. It took a total of 11 large transfer trucks to deliver the machine to the province.

Archeological divers will be in the water all weekend inspecting to see if there is anything of archeological significance along the cables route.

This component of the project is expected to take approximately 8 weeks. Installation of the two cable lines will begin in mid October, 2016, and the work is projected to be operational by the end of this year..

Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin said, "This is a pretty exciting project." Adding, ""People have been working on the paperwork to get all the approvals for this project for quite some time now, so to see work actually beginning is really exciting."

This $140 million cable project is the most significant strategic investment in the P.E.I. since the construction of the Confederation Bridge, said Infrastructure Minister Paula Biggar.

"The cable interconnection is essential to our security and reliability of supply and to meet our future electricity needs," she said.

Environmental Impact Assessments have been approved by the governments of Canada, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The cables will be owned by the province and will be leased to Maritime Electric.

  

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