LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Cross Sound Cable Project - An Ocean T-Line Sets Up Turf War Between Feds and States

As a transmission project, the Cross Sound Cable is a different type of ocean energy project than the generation projects typically covered by this blog. The cable is a transmission project - running from Connecticut to Long Island lies in state waters appurtenant to Connecticut and New York.

Of course, the Cross Sound Cable isn't making news merely because it's an underwater transmission line. As this article
Cross Sound Cable Debate Sets Off Federal Power Grab
(9/28/03) describes, the project has set off a turf war between the state of Connecticut and the feds. Although the cable has been completed, Connecticut regulators refused to allow it to operate because about 700 feet of it was not buried to the required depth. Notwithstanding this injunction, in the aftermath of the August 2003 blackout, DOE Secretary Abraham, declared an energy emergency and ordered the transmission line to be activated. And the tranmission line has been operating since then, though Connecticut regulators have sought rehearing of the Secretary's orders.

It's possible that these same federal and state conflicts may replay in the offshore permitting arena as well. What happens, for example, if the Corps successfully permits an offshore project on the OCS but the neighboring state refuses to permit the transmission lines that run to shore to be activated because of issues such as failure to bury the line the appropriate length? Or what if the state refuses to lease lands for the transmission lines notwithstanding that an applicant obtains a permit from the Corps to construct the project. This isn't so much an issue for tidal and wave projects where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has asserted jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act which allows developers to condemn lands needed to construct a project. But offshore wind developers do not have that ability under the Corps' Section 10 permit program. So as if offshore renewable developers didn't have enough on their plates with opposition from NIMBY groups and environmental groups, they may also find themselves squarely stuck in the middle of a turf war between the feds and the state.


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