Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Engineering Marvel: Ship Begins Laying Massive Power Cable Connecting N.L., N.S

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Engineering Marvel: Ship Begins Laying Massive Power Cable Connecting N.L., N.S

Article excerpt

Massive ship laying cable across Cabot Strait

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HALIFAX - Somewhere off Newfoundland's southwest coast, a Norwegian ship has begun spooling out a massive, thick cable that will connect the island with Nova Scotia, a 170-kilometre voyage that, once completed, will create North America's longest subsea electricity link.

The cable-laying ship CS Nexans Skagerrak started rolling out the black-and-orange cable across the Cabot Strait late Wednesday, a process that began just off Cape Ray, N.L., where the cable has already been anchored.

The slow-moving ship, operated by Nexans SA of France, is expected to arrive off Point Aconi, N.S., by May 8, if the weather holds.

"It looks like we've got a pretty good weather window to work with," said Rick Janega, president and CEO of Emera Newfoundland and Labrador, a subsidiary of Halifax-based Emera Inc.

A second cable is expected to be deployed by early June. Final connections and testing are expected to wrap up by the end of this year.

The two cables, each the width of a two-litre pop bottle, will be part of the $1.6-billion Maritime Link project, which will enable Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned Nalcor Energy to provide privately owned Nova Scotia Power Inc. with renewable energy from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador.

The cables will also enable the two provinces to trade and sell electricity. Each can carry up to 250 megawatts of electricity.

Together, they weigh about 11,000 tonnes, which is more than the Eiffel Tower. Their copper conductors are protected by 13 layers of various types of armour, insulation, fabric tape and a lead-alloy sheath.

The cables will rest on the ocean floor at depths up to 470 metres. Closer to shore, they will be buried under sand or rock at depths of 200 metres or less.

"Deeper than that there isn't much risk of marine activity, whether fishing or anchors from vessels," Janega said. …

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