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Maritime Electric activates submarine cable linking P.E.I. to Cape Tormentine

Catherine Callbeck, former premier and senator, congratulates Kim Griffin of Maritime Electric for the successful completion and activation of the new submarine cable.
Catherine Callbeck, former premier and senator, congratulates Kim Griffin of Maritime Electric for the successful completion and activation of the new submarine cable.

BORDEN-CARLETON – With about 100 people watching, John Gaudet, the CEO, of Maritime Electric called a power substation giving the OK to turn on the power.

Cheers rang out when the pop of electricity flashed across the screen as the new electrical plant in Borden-Carleton and the submarine cable became active.

“It’s a historic day for P.E.I.,” said Gaudet.

Forty years ago, under the Alex Campbell government, the first electrical cable connecting P.E.I. to New Brunswick was made active.

“This Northumberland Strait Submarine Transmission System project is the largest project in our company’s history and we are proud of the world-class installation completed by our project team at Maritime Electric. The two new submarine cables will enhance the reliability of electricity supply for Islanders today and well into the future.”

Over the past year, Maritime Electric worked to construct the underwater cable ensuring that the permits, construction and community involvement were taken care of, said Kim Griffin, the company’s public affairs manager.

“We wanted the communities to be involved as well as first nations groups with land rights. We took their comments, as well as advice from fishermen in the areas involved.”

John Gaudet, left, CEO of Maritime Electric and Premier Wade MacLauchlan celebrate as the electrical submarine cable is activated.

The new submarine transmission system – a $142.5-million project cost-shared by federal and provincial governments – will increase P.E.I.’s total electrical power capacity to 560 megawatts. It will also contribute to ongoing efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels by building a cleaner electricity supply. It comprises two 180-megawatt underwater cables connecting P.E.I. to mainland New Brunswick, replacing decades-old cables that had a total capacity of 200 megawatts of energy.

Paula Biggar, minister of Energy for P.E.I., said it’s nice to see the project come to fruition.

“It gives the Island and Islanders electrical security and opportunity.”

By 2014, because of the Island’s growing electrical load, the incoming government had to decide whether to use a diesel generator to help produce electricity or investigate other alternatives, she said.

“It was our first priority when we took office. And as the Energy minister, it’s great to see this accomplished while I’m in office.”

Premier Wade MacLauchlan said the cable would allow the Island more autonomy.

“Providing reliable, affordable and increasingly renewable energy is essential to helping our province stay competitive.

“The new electricity connection will lower energy costs for residents and businesses, create jobs and grow our economy so that we can continue to increase prosperity for Islanders.”

millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com

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