Cross-Strait cable almost ready to go

A proposed 550-megawatt transmission line that connect the power grids on the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island has received the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — which removed the last hurdle for construction on the American side of the Strait.

The Sea Breeze Pacific Juan de Fuca Cable LP’s line would leave Vancouver Island from Esquimalt, near Victoria, and connect with Port Angeles near the former Rayonier Inc. pulp mill site, located at the end of North Ennis Street on the city’s waterfront.

Construction of the estimated $350 million project is expected to begin in mid- to late-2009, said Sara Mitchell, project coordinator with the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Sea Breeze Power Corp., which conceived of the cable in 2004.

Construction could take up to 18 months, she said.

The Army Corps of Engineers permit authorizes the cable to be constructed on U.S. soil and seabed.

In September, Sea Breeze also received a permit from the state Department of Ecology, which laid out the water quality and pollution requirements of the project.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued Sea Breeze a Presidential Permit, which addresses impacts on the environment and U.S. electric transmission system, on June 12.

Sea Breeze claims that both the Corps of Engineers permit and the Canadian National Energy Board permit issued in September 2006 are firsts for a private-sector led international transmission project.

Energy from the island

The cable would allow Sea Breeze to sell energy, particularly renewable energy, into the United States from Vancouver Island.

Sea Breeze Power Corp. has a 450-megawatt wind farm permitted on Vancouver Island and a 25-megawatt run-of-river hydro project in the permitting process on the Canadian mainland, said the company’s Web site,

The cross-border transmission line along the I-5 corridor is considered congested, Mitchell said.

“The big factor is renewable energy demand in the [United States],” she said.

Another $150 million in electrical system upgrades are expected to be needed to handle the additional capacity that would come from Vancouver Island.

How that cost may be distributed has yet to be determined, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said Sea Breeze still needs:

âñ  An aquatic land lease agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources.

âñ  A renewed noise variance for construction from the city of Port Angeles.

The variance was approved in 2006, but has since expired.

It allowed Sea Breeze to conduct 23 consecutive days and nights of tunnel boring on Liberty Street between Caroline and Georgiana streets, about three blocks east and one block south of Olympic Medical Center.

âñ  Storm water and building permits.

âñ  An environmental assessment from three Canadian federal agencies.

Ecology & Environment Inc. from Seattle is consulting with Sea Breeze on all of its U.S. permits.

Mitchell said the company is still seeking a lease agreement with Clallam County Public Utility District for the construction of a converter station adjacent to the Peninsula College campus in Port Angeles.

Construction of the cable was initially expected for early 2007.

Mitchell said Sea Breeze didn’t expect the permitting process to take this long, particularly on the Canadian side.

A private-led submarine trans-border cable project is unique to Canadian and U.S. federal agencies, which is why the permitting has taken longer than expected, she added.

“There is not a precedent for this,” she said.

A ship-towed machine would dig a trench between three feet and six feet deep to lay the cable under the Strait and cover the trench.

On land, the cable would be about eight inches thick. It would be 10 inches in diameter under water.

Mitchell said a horizontal directional drilling machine would be used to drill 700 to 800 meters under the harbor’s shoreline and other environmentally-sensitive areas to connect with the cable.

The machine would likely need to operate on the Rayonier site, she added.


Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or

More in News

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

Olympic Medical Center chief outlines efforts at improvements

Decreased number of travelers among them

Jay and Trudi Inslee wear red for #WearRedDay to support women’s heart health in 2022. (Jay Inslee)
Gov. Inslee reflects in his final year of three terms

On the second level of the white and gray marbled… Continue reading

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Broadband, public health before county boards

Government meetings across North Olympic Peninsula

A pair of Clallam Transit buses sit at The Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles in preparation for their fixed-route runs on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam Transit sees large rise in ridership

No issues seen with new zero-fare policy

Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

Peninsula College Foundation reports record levels of giving

Programs, students both recipients of funds

County to repave section of Carlsborg Road

Clallam County commissioners will consider awarding a contract for… Continue reading

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading