Deepwater modifies environmental report for underground lines

Responds to Narragansett concerns
Mon, 06/03/2013 - 9:00pm

Deepwater Wind has agreed to modify its Environmental Report (ER) to include burying its transmission lines that will make landfall in Narragansett.

This change was announced in a letter written by Aileen Kenney, Deepwater's vice president of permitting and environmental affairs, which was sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, May 31.

Kenney's letter outlined the changes to be made to the environmental report, which is a document that Deepwater submits as part of its public permitting process.

The letter says that Deepwater "has agreed to modify the 0.8 mi (1.3 km) segment of the Block Island Transmission System (BITs) from the Narragansett Town Beach to the proposed Narragansett Switchyard from an overhead line to a buried line."

The Narragansett switchyard is a switching station that would connect to the National Grid, and it is proposed to be built on municipally owned land in Narragansett.

The letter goes on to say, "based on discussion with staff of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), [Deepwater Wind] has modified the previously designed of the Narragansett Switchyard to further minimize land use impacts within buffers to Narrow River Special Area Management Plan (Narrow River SAMP) wetlands.

"The proposed changes result in the following benefits:

  • The existing utility poles along the previously proposed overhead route no longer require enhancement;
  • A reduction of 0.5 [acres] of temporary disturbance during construction of the Narragansett Switchyard; and
  • A reduction of 1.93 [acres] in the operational footprint for all BITS facilities in Narragansett."

Also included in the letter are the changes to be made to the environment report, including specific construction and operation activities associated with the buried lines.

This change to the report is "in response to feedback received from residents in the Town of Narragansett," said the letter.

Last week, residents in Narragansett circulated a petition that in part asked Deepwater to include its plans to bury its electric transmission lines in Deepwater's environmental report. Deepwater Wind, and the transmission line between Block Island and Narragansett, has also been the topic of conversation at several Narragansett Town Council meetings.

For more information, see the upcoming story in this Friday's Block Island Times.