Updated Feb. 23
Undersea cable laying associated with Vineyard Wind has been ongoing this winter, before the company starts constructing turbines this summer.
A spokesperson for Vineyard Wind confirmed that the 400-foot ship Ulisse seen off East Beach in Chappaquiddick this weekend is part of the cable laying process.
The ship has assisted in laying cables near the construction site 15 miles off the coast of the Vineyard as well as near Covell’s Beach in Barnstable since November.
Spokesperson Andrew Doba tells the Martha’s Vineyard Times that the Ulisse won’t be burying cable for a few weeks. The plan is to connect cables already installed at the turbine site to the mainland in the coming months. No cable-laying has taken place in Nantucket Sound yet.
Doba says that the Ulisse uses technology that blasts water into the sea floor, and the cable is laid on the softened ground. Tidal motions then cover the cable. Doba says the cables are extremely heavy, which allows them to sink below the surface. But he says it’s a slow process.
In the meantime, Doba says that they expect to install about half of the 62 turbines and start generating power by year’s end, with construction beginning this summer. That will be preceded with the construction of monopoles and transition pieces. The assembly of the massive monopoles will be done in New Bedford before being barged out to the construction site.
Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller said that cable-laying is key to bringing power to the mainland.
“For a project that has achieved many firsts, the beginning of offshore cable installation is perhaps the most significant we have achieved so far,” Moeller said in a statement. “To get to this point has required an amazing effort by the Vineyard Wind team.
The work is being conducted by Prysmian Group, a company based in Italy. The company recently announced plans to build the first U.S.-based offshore wind subsea cable factory in Somerset.
A previous version of this story misspelled Andrew Doba’s name.