Boothbay Connection Project

One Turbine.

Enough Renewable Energy to Power More Than 6,000 Homes.

The Boothbay region is poised to play a pivotal role in the development of clean, renewable energy for the Midcoast and Maine’s future.

We have abundant natural wind resources right here in the Gulf of Maine, and Maine researchers have been carefully developing technology to harness this powerful wind energy for more than a decade. In partnership with the University of Maine, we are now ready to bring this locally produced clean energy to life to directly benefit Maine families and businesses and protect our environment from the severe threats of climate change. The Boothbay/Boothbay Harbor communities are helping to make this important climate action possible by serving as the critical connection point between one offshore wind turbine and the New England electric grid.

The floating offshore wind demonstration turbine will be connected to the mainland by one cable that will be buried or covered in the ocean. The cable will land at Bigelow Labs, then connect underground through a small switching station to the existing grid substation in Boothbay Harbor and then into the regional grid. This cable is like another cable already in use that connects North Haven and Vinalhaven to the mainland.

New England Aqua Ventus wants to help create a sustainable energy future for Maine. We are committed to working with the local communities to be a good neighbor and partner in advancing clean, renewable, positive energy for Maine.

November 10, 2021

Project Details

Onshore Cable Route Options

NEAV Cable Route Options
Example of soil testing truck

Work has begun investigating potential routes on land for the interconnecting cable.

Work will include:

  • Westbrook-based SGC Engineering surveying potential routes, much like any other surveying work seen on Maine roadsides.
  • Ransom Engineering out of Portland will be drilling some small holes along the proposed routes to test the soil to find an optimal route and ensure a safe cable burial with minimal disruption. 

Before any additional physical work is conducted, New England Aqua Ventus is committed to giving the community at least a week of advance notice.

We expect the cable burial will be substantially less intrusive than infrastructure work in past years. This current survey work will clarify exactly how the cable will be installed and inform the permit applications that will eventually be filed with regulators. Cable installation would likely occur more than two years from now, in the offseason.

Details on the proposed routes are available on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website as part of the demonstration project’s ongoing National Environmental Policy Act permitting review: https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-05/EA-2049-Project-Description-2021.pdf

FAQs:

The single offshore wind turbine in the Monhegan demonstration will provide enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 6,000 homes. NEAV is committed to clean energy for Maine people, and local jobs for Maine people. Our goal is a Maine-made offshore wind industry—locally produced renewable energy generation for a brighter future.

NEAV is committed to notifying the East Boothbay neighborhood at least a week before anything “physical” takes place in the area, including everyone on the email list generated from neighborhood meetings. We will also place a notice in the Boothbay Register (both a paid notice and sharing information with the news staff.) Additionally, this project website will be updated regularly to provide the community with details and related information about our renewable energy initiatives in the region.

Consistent with the overview provided during the public meetings, there will be further public consultation in the coming months before key decisions (i.e., the route) are made.  As more dates and certainty emerges, updates will be provided on the NEAV website, and information about the public consultation will be shared via email.

It is important to note that at times over the next two years, there will be long periods during which very little will be occurring relevant to the landward cable.  Most of the work on the demonstration project is related to activities like how to assemble and deploy the turbine platform, and not activities related to the landward cable or East Boothbay.

Yes.  As stated in the public sessions, NEAV will share a cable route update and construction methods as soon as they coalesce.  While the exact timing is to be determined, an updated route identifying key considerations is targeted for late winter.  Detailed construction drawings addressing installation techniques will follow.

A simple claims process will be put in place based on discussions with potentially impacted neighbors no later than 90 days prior to construction.  Given that this will be formalized more than a year from now, ideally the framework for such a process can be outlined when NEAV shares the updated cable route to reassure potentially impacted property owners. We hope that the new planned route and installation methods will mitigate any concerns of need for a claims process.

The goal is to perform installation as quickly and with as little disruption as possible.  Detailed answers on the impact of installation will be provided when the final design is complete, construction method finalized, and contracts are negotiated, no later than 90 days prior to installation, likely more than a year from now.

NEAV is open to discussions about what the community considers valuable, as was mentioned during the neighborhood meetings.  Community members identified things such as sidewalks and sewer lines, and additional suggestions are encouraged.  In the coming year, NEAV will further engage with members of the community who want to offer ideas, and this will likely be an agenda item for the cable route meeting in late winter.  The goal is to formalize a community benefit agreement sometime in 2022.

This is a low-voltage cable encased in sheathing that will be buried or covered. It will be similar to the cable that connects Vinalhaven and North Haven to the mainland. There have been no documented disruptions to fisheries in Europe from electromagnetic fields where over 5,000 offshore wind turbines have been installed. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management conducted three years of surveys and didn’t find any adverse effects where cables are installed in ocean settings.

The entire demonstration project, including the landward cable, will be evaluated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environmental Assessment (EA), as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Interested persons can get information about the EA here: www.energy.gov/node/2053718