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At Covell's Beach, Public Gets Up-Close Look at Where Vineyard Wind Will Come Ashore

Covell's Beach
Jennette Barnes
Power from Vineyard Wind will come ashore at Covell's Beach in Barnstable. This image, looking east, shows Covell's Beach on Aug. 18, 2021.

Vineyard Wind’s public information campaign made a stop Wednesday at Covell’s Beach in Barnstable — the beach where the company plans to bring electrical cables ashore from its first offshore wind farm.

Beachgoers had a chance to comment and ask questions.

Longtime Barnstable resident David Houghton said he doesn’t oppose offshore wind, but he’s concerned about the location of the buried cables. They should be buried 30 feet deep everywhere they are under the sand, rather than sloping upward toward the parking lot, he said.

“I mean, nine feet under the parking lot I wouldn't have an issue with, but nine feet under any part of the beach, yeah, that's a real concern,” he said.

covell's 2.jpg
Jennette Barnes
Looking west toward neighboring properties from Covell's Beach in Barnstable, Aug. 18. 2021.

Rose DeCosta, external affairs manager for Vineyard Wind, said by the time the cables reach the middle of the beach, they will be closer to 20 feet deep and slope down to 30 feet under the sea floor.

The conduit will be laid using horizontal directional drilling to avoid opening a trench on the beach, she said.

Houghton asked where under the beach the cables would be, and DeCosta said they would be near the east side lifeguard chair. The presence of eelgrass and a very large rock were factors in the decision not to put the cables closer to the end of the beach, according to Vineyard Wind.

“I think that's too close,” Houghton said. “I think it should be much closer to where the dune is.”

He said more distance would reduce the risk to people in case of an explosion.

The public approval process has been going on for years, but Houghton said local officials have not done enough to heed residents’ objections.

Another beachgoer at Covell’s, Josephine Deegan of Hyannis, said she was glad to hear the turbines would be 35 miles off the beach.

“We come here to the Cape to see the ocean,” she said. “I don't want to see those things out there.”

covell's 3.jpg
Jennette Barnes
Vineyard Wind representatives (rear, left to right) Rose DeCosta, Jennifer Cullen, and Dana Rebeiro speak with beachgoers at Covell's Beach in Barnstable Aug. 18, 2021.

Vineyard Wind 1 will be about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Deegan said she’s interested to see how offshore wind power might affect her electric bill, “because electric down the Cape is outrageous, you know?”

Vineyard Wind announced Wednesday that it will contract with Belgium-based Jan De Nul Group for the supply and installation of about 130 miles of cables to connect the turbines and transfer electricity to an offshore substation.

Power will then come ashore at Covell’s Beach.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.