Cautionary tales on undersea cables


To the Editor:

This is a caution on Muskeget Channel’s two 220-kV electromagnetic undersea cables.

Massachusetts has a poor history of placing high-voltage underwater electric cables. In 1990, an electric cable was installed in Boston Harbor by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for the construction of the Deer Island facility. The cable failed to meet the 25-foot depth requirements, resulting in years of health, safety, and litigation issues.

The litigation settlement took 20 years, filed in federal court in Boston, and requires Eversource to extend a new power line by Dec. 31, 2019, connecting the K Street substation in South Boston and the Deer Island wastewater treatment plant.

The local Boston electric company absorbs the costs for the replacement of underwater electric cables, requiring filings with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities with hopes of collecting from the MWRA. Ultimately Jill and Joe taxpayers/electric ratepayers foot the entire bill.

Nearby, in 2018, at the first ocean wind turbine site in the U.S. at Block Island, R.I., a 37,500-volt underwater electric transmission line at State Beach, designed to be buried below the ocean bottom, became exposed. Two buoys were placed to prevent children from stepping on the line, and a no-anchor zone was established.

The World Health Organization warns of EMF, electric and magnetic fields such as those from electric power lines, and the wind turbine infrasound can also cause health problems.

Massachusetts had an agenda of 2,000 megawatts of land-based wind turbines by the year 2020, with only about 120 megawatts today as a result of two types of noise from the wind turbines, measured in decibels and human annoyance, or what is called infrasound, as witnessed in wind turbine shutdowns in Falmouth.

Overall, we are witness to a failure of due diligence over health and safety for a wind turbine political agenda.


Frank Haggerty