Korea gets contract for part of P.E.I.'s new underwater power cable

Dave Stewart
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While the two submarine cables that will connect P.E.I. with the mainland haven't actually been built yet, Kim Griffin, corporate spokeswoman with Maritime Electric, says this is exactly what the inside of each one of them will look like. The project involves about 34 kilometres of submarine cable with the cable itself measuring roughly 10 inches in diameter.

LS Cable awarded a $54-million contract for portion of biggest infrastructure project since Confederation Bridge

A Korean company has been handed part of the task of carrying out perhaps the biggest infrastructure project in P.E.I. since Confederation Bridge was built.

LS Cable has been awarded a $54-million contract for a portion of the project that will see two huge, new electrical cables installed under the seabed of the Northumberland Strait.

The project, which was originally supposed to take place this summer, will now begin in October and should take two to three weeks to complete, weather permitting.

Maritime Electric has already handed over a $6-million down payment.

"We had to order that in advance and put a deposit down or we'd never meet the timeline to meet it at the end of this year,'' said Kim Griffin, corporate spokeswoman with the utility.

"It was certainly a risk, but we felt that it was really important.''

The environmental assessment part of the project is still ongoing. If there are any problems, Maritime Electric will simply put things on hold.

The project involves 34 kilometres of submarine cable. The cable itself is about 10 inches in diameter, enabling it to carry a significantly larger load, which will go from 200 megawatts of transfer capability to 560 with the four cables.

The install schedule was set following consultations with lobster fishermen. The fall schedule is least disruptive to the fishery.

The existing cables are nearly 40 years old and aren't buried very deeply in the strait. Those cables are also filled with a type of oil that has leaked in the past. The new ones do not have oil and are filled instead with a type of plastic.

The project, which is cost-shared between the federal and provincial government, is estimated to cost between $120 million and $140 million. The previous federal government committed $50 million.

There are a number of marine biologists employed, as well as engineers, survey companies and people who are helping design the cable, mapping the route and handling changes that will need to be done to the utility's substation in Borden-Carleton.

"For us, it's a pretty significant amount of work. There are people working on this full-time, year-round to try and make it happen.''

Griffin said the contract was awarded to a Korean company because there are no companies in North America able to make the cable.

New scanning technology has identified a possible river bed with a soft structure that will allow the two new cables to be well buried this time around.

Electricity from the new cables should be flowing by November or December.

Consumer electricity rates likely won't go down but should be lower than without the new cables.

dstewarttheguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Maritime Electric, LS Cable

Geographic location: Korea, New Brunswick, P.E.I. Borden-Carleton North America

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Recent comments

  • don
    January 24, 2016 - 14:50

    federal and provincial government is sharing the cost but i did not read how much maritime electric is putting in??

  • don
    January 24, 2016 - 14:48

    it seems that the postings in here are being taken off? but any way Kim can you tell me is there no other company in north america that could put the cable in place, or build it??

  • conservation over expansion
    January 24, 2016 - 14:17

    If Wade MacLauchlan and his energy minister Ms. Biggar had any common sense, they would know that conservation is infinitely cheaper than building new transmission and generation capacity. But they are not experts, nor are the bureaucrats supporting them, so they constantly kowtow to Fortis demands. Bring a feed-in tariff program to PEI. Force owners/operators of streetlights to switch to LED. Make big electricity consumers pay more per kilowatt hour than those who use less. Provide incentives for households to REDUCE use of electricity, as opposed to INCREASE consumption of electricity, like the failed air to air ductless split heat pump grants. Mr. MacLauchlan, you are setting this province up for a failure linked to indebtedness caused by your policies. You need to change course immediately.

  • don
    January 24, 2016 - 13:26

    environmental assessment part of the project is still ongoing. what if the answer in NO then that means maritime electric loses the 6 million. but something tells me that they already know everything is a go ahead. the government is in the pockets of big companies plus i would like to see how many shares do the liberals past and present have in shares.