Eversource launches electrical upgrades for offshore wind, promises fewer Cape Cod outages
Eversource is building what it calls “the Cape Cod Solution”: electrical upgrades to carry offshore wind power and reduce outages on the Cape, the company says.
Employees and community supporters gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday at the Bourne Switching Station, near the Cape Cod Canal.
“The power grid out here on Cape Cod, it's storm-prone,” said Bill Quinlan, president of transmission and offshore wind projects for Eversource. “It sees a lot of extreme weather. There's a fair number of trees, quite a number of outages. This solution will significantly increase the reliability of the electric grid here for our customers.”
The project consists of three phases. The first, begun last month, is the construction of a new 115-kilovolt overhead transmission line from the Bourne Switching Station to the substation in West Barnstable.
The line will be built to 345-kilovolt standards to accommodate offshore wind, but will initially operate at 115 kilovolts. Avangrid, owner of Park City Wind, is paying for the extra capacity, according to Eversource.
That line is expected to be complete by the middle of next year.
At the groundbreaking, state Rep. David Vieira, a Falmouth Republican, thanked everyone involved in the project for “making sure that we're not just catering to one narrative.”
“The narrative is we need to protect our globe,” he said. “We need to deal with climate issues, with the clean energy. We need to protect our customers. We need to make sure that folks have heat in their homes and the electricity necessary.”
Dan Wolf, a board member of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, said the project will help the Cape become a net exporter of clean energy.
“We're going to build the whole grid on Cape Cod, so that we can make ourselves proud around the country and the world that we are an exporter of renewable, clean energy,” he said.
Phase 2, a new substation in Bourne and upgrades in West Barnstable, will allow the line to accept power from Park City Wind. The 804-megawatt offshore wind development will supply power to Connecticut.
Construction on Phase 2 is expected to last into early 2026.
Phase 3, to be built at an indefinite time later, will consist of a 345-kilovolt transmission line from Bourne to Falmouth and up to West Barnstable.
Closing that loop will create capacity for an additional 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind power, said Vandan Divatia, vice president of transmission policy, interconnections and compliance at Eversource.
“When you start looking at these substations and lines when you're driving around, think of what it's doing for our customers and our communities,” he said. “Think of how it's delivering clean energy, and not just the fact that it's poles and wires and steel.”
Speakers at the event stood before a real-life backdrop of electrical transmission lines in the Eversource right-of-way through Joint Base Cape Cod. The new line will trace the same path.