Cape Wind submits revised permit application to Corps

Cape Wind submits revised permit application to Corps for wind turbine proposal
Corps encourages public comment, deadline February 21, 2008

CONCORD, Mass. – Cape Wind Associates, LLC has submitted a revised permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for work in waters of the United States in conjunction with a wind farm proposal in Nantucket Sound, Mass.

A public notice and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were issued by the Corps of Engineers in 2004. Since that time, the Department of Interior, Minerals Management Service (MMS) has become the lead federal agency on the review and has recently issued a new Draft EIS (see here ). Check that site for MMS public hearing dates and locations scheduled in March 2008.

Several changes to the project proposal have occurred since the original permit application and the previous public notice. The applicant has provided a revised application to the Corps to show the minor revisions to the proposed project. The Corps is soliciting public comments on the project revisions.
Public comments and inquiries specific to the MMS Draft EIS should be submitted directly to MMS.

The proposed project is the installation of 130 wind turbine generators, an electric service platform and associated submarine cables. This work is proposed in Nantucket Sound with cable landfall at New Hampshire Avenue in Yarmouth, Mass. The project includes work in navigable waters including the discharge of dredged or fill material for the proposed Wind Park located on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound between Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The electricity produced by each turbine will be transmitted via a 33 kilovolt submarine transmission cable system to the Electric Service Platform centrally located within the turbine array. The electricity will then be transmitted to the mainland via two 115 kilovolt alternating current submarine cable circuits, making landfall at New Hampshire Avenue in Yarmouth.

Several changes to the project proposal have occurred since the original permit application and the previous public notice. The configuration and location of the turbines have changed slightly and the construction method for landfall transition has been modified to include a temporary cofferdam. In 2004, the state territorial boundary expanded further seaward in this area of Nantucket Sound. Ten of the original turbine locations were within these newly designated state waters. The proposed locations for 20 other turbines have changed to avoid archeologically sensitive areas, potential impacts to commercial fishermen, and to reduce the potential for impacts to commercial marine navigation. Rock armouring is now proposed as an alternative to the scour mats at the base of the turbine monopole foundations, if needed.

The lighting plan has been developed consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration guidance that was issued in November 2005. The landfall transition of the 115 kilovolt submarine transmission lines from water to land at Yarmouth will be through the use of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to avoid disturbance of the shoreline. A temporary cofferdam will be installed at the seaward end of the HDD borehole. The steel sheetpile cofferdam will enclose an area of approximately 2,925 square feet with dimensions of 65 feet wide and 45 feet long. It will open at one end to allow the installation of the conduits.

A temporary turbidity curtain may be used to confine sediments within the work area, if needed. Approximately 840 cubic yards of sediments will be temporarily removed, stored on a barge, and backfilled after the installation is completed. Clean sand will be used to supplement the backfill material as needed to restore the seafloor to preconstruction grade.

The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands; and with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the United States. The revised public notice can be reviewed online at the Corps website. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices.

Public comments referencing this revised permit request (File # NAE-2004-338) should be forwarded no later than Feb. 21, 2008 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Karen Adams or Kevin Kotelly), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Managers Karen Adams or Kevin Kotelly at 978-318-8338 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts).

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