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Falmouth cable-landing site for Mayflower Wind moving to Brayton Point in Somerset

mayflower slide
Mayflower Wind
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This slide from a virtual tour of Mayflower Wind's original proposed cable-landing sites shows where cables were potentially going to be buried along Worcester Avenue in Falmouth.

Mayflower Wind’s cable landing site in Falmouth has been moved to Brayton Point, the company said this week.

Mayflower had proposed Falmouth Heights Beach as a place to bring underground electrical cables ashore from its first offshore wind development south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

But in a press briefing Wednesday on other wind news, a state official mentioned that Mayflower was moving its cable landing to Brayton Point.

Mayflower’s general counsel, Dan Hubbard, confirmed the news in an interview with CAI.

He said both of Mayflower’s contracted projects — one for 800 megawatts and another for 400 megawatts — will go to Brayton Point, the site of a former coal-burning power plant.

So, for the time being, none of the company’s undersea cables will make landfall on Cape Cod.

Two other projects — Vineyard Wind 1 and Park City Wind — will make landfall in Barnstable.

But Hubbard said Falmouth is still on the table for future Mayflower Wind projects. The company has another 1,200 megawatts of capacity in its ocean lease.

For that, “the logical location is still on Cape Cod,” he said. Going to Brayton Point gives the company more time to continue to work with Falmouth, “to make sure that we find an ideal location and utilize technologies that are the least disruptive to that community.”

He said the original line to Falmouth was planned as a high-voltage alternating current, or HVAC, line. But for a future Falmouth landfall, Mayflower will plan to use high-voltage direct current, or HVDC.

“Which ultimately involves less cabling, less disruption and lower environmental impact,” he said.

He said HVDC is more efficient over longer distances and has weaker electric and magnetic fields — an issue that concerned some residents.

The Falmouth Select Board initially preferred Surf Drive as a location for cables to come ashore, but Mayflower Wind said that wasn’t feasible because of other cables in the area.

Prior to the news of the Falmouth landing moving to Brayton Point, Select Board member Doug Brown, who chaired the board until the spring reorganization, asked Mayflower if it had considered consolidating landing sites, according to Brown.

“I read a report by the Brattle Group that … suggested that the lines be combined and not willy-nilly scattered all over the Cape and elsewhere, and that they should be brought into places like Brayton Point and the old Pilgrim Nuclear plant, where the electric infrastructure is already in place,” he said. “So I found that report interesting, and I actually forwarded the report to the Mayflower representative and asked if they had considered this concept of the larger-capacity landings in fewer locations.”

The Select Board is still interested in working with Mayflower, he said.

“We hadn't given up on the project,” he said. “I mean, we know we need renewable energy.”

On Wednesday, state officials and Massachusetts electric companies announced they were filing offshore wind contracts with the state Department of Public Utilities. The contracts are for Massachusetts’ third round of offshore wind procurement.

Filing the contracts makes the energy pricing public. The state announced prices of 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour for the 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project, and 7.7 cents for Mayflower Wind’s 400-megawatt project.

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.