Transmission & Interconnection FAQs
How will SouthCoast Wind determine the route for the export cables?
Export cable routing from the lease area to the point of grid interconnection is still being assessed. SouthCoast Wind will determine the route for both export cables by performing a full routing analysis of all considered routes. Route alternatives are evaluated according to environmental, technical, socio-economic, and commercial factors. Part of this routing analysis includes baseline surveys, which are utilized to gather data and assess the suitability of each route and identify any associated impacts.
For SouthCoast Wind 1, more than a dozen potential routes to Brayton Point were included in the routing analysis. Many of these alternate routes were ruled out due to factors such as conflicts with US Navy activity, sensitive ecosystems, historic areas, and environmental justice areas.
Who will approve or disapprove of the proposed cable routes?
Federal, state, and local review from a variety of regulatory authorities is required prior to the start of construction.
At the Federal level, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is one of the primary regulatory bodies that oversees the permitting of offshore wind energy in federal waters. Other notable federal agencies with jurisdiction over SouthCoast Wind’s proposed activities include the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Federal Aviation Administration, among others.
At the state level, the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Boards (EFSB) and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office (MEPA) are two of the key regulatory processes that drive most of the other state and local permitting timelines. The EFSB is an independent state board that reviews proposed large energy facilities, including electric transmission lines, to determine if they serve the public interest.
At the local level, SouthCoast Wind will work cooperatively with town officials on construction scheduling, including seeking licenses where necessary to facilitate construction access.
What studies have been conducted to determine whether the project can safely and reliably interconnect into the regional grid?
SouthCoast Wind is progressing through the Independent System Operator—New England (ISO-NE) study process to determine how the project can safely and reliably interconnect into the New England transmission system. This includes conducting a Feasibility Study and System Impact Study, which are required for all interconnection requests. These studies are performed to evaluate the cost of interconnecting to the transmission system and whether it will have an impact on grid reliability and safety.
What is the project’s Point of Interconnection (POI)?
SouthCoast Wind will deliver the project’s first 1,200 MW of clean electricity via SouthCoast Wind 1, connecting to the regional electric grid at Brayton Point in Somerset, MA.
Due to uncertainty around ISO-NE grid capacity and the extent and timing of necessary grid upgrades in Falmouth, SouthCoast Wind is exploring a second POI at Brayton Point for the additional 1,200 MW. Falmouth, MA continues to remain an option for this second phase while grid capacity and timing of necessary upgrades are determined. Interconnection studies are ongoing.
What safeguards and practices will be deployed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to the coastal and near-shore environment from the cable landing?
SouthCoast Wind will be working with federal, state and local environmental agencies to avoid and minimize environmental impacts to the coastal and near-shore environment. The most effective method to avoid direct impacts is by using construction methods, such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and time of year restrictions during seasonally important time periods. Potential impacts on the coastal and near-shore environment and environmental protection measures will be detailed in the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP).
Will fiber communication cables be co-located with the power cables?
Yes, dedicated communication cables will be installed to transmit information between the offshore and onshore substations.