Cable, plants may trip up Admiralty Inlet turbine project

The proximity of rare plants and an international communications cable may present obstacles for a plan to locate tidal turbines in Admiralty Inlet. The Snohomish County Public Utility District submitted a final license application in March to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a permit to install two energy-producing turbines in Admiralty Inlet. The proposed location is one kilometer west of Central Whidbey’s Keystone Harbor.

The proximity of rare plants and an international communications cable may present obstacles for a plan to locate tidal turbines in Admiralty Inlet.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District submitted a final license application in March to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a permit to install two energy-producing turbines in Admiralty Inlet. The proposed location is one kilometer west of Central Whidbey’s Keystone Harbor.

But the pilot project has some challenges.

Among the groups that have filed as intervenors is Whidbey Environmental Action Network, commonly known as WEAN. The group is concerned about possible environmental damage caused by the turbines in the marine environment as well as the PUD’s proposal to construct the on-land portion of the system at Keystone Spit, which could impact a “relatively rare native plant community,” WEAN reported in a press release.

In addition, PC Landing Corp. filed a motion to intervene and protest the project. The company, together with Japanese affiliates, owns the Pacific Crossing fiber-optic submarine cable system. The company characterizes the 13,076 miles of cable as “a major, high-capacity international telecommunications link between the United States and Japan.”

The problem is that the proposed locations for the turbines would put them at 100 and 150 meters, respectively, from the cable.

“Placement of an experimental turbine project within 100 meters of a major, operational submarine cable system would be nonsensical and contrary to the public and security interests of the United States,” the motion states.

PC Landing Corp., WEAN and other proposed intervenors want the PUD to go through a full Environmental Impact Statement process.

Marianne Edain of WEAN argued that the PUD’s proposal is deeply flawed and shows a lack of attention to detail.

“Unfortunately, such slapdash work does a disservice to the potential for tidal power,” she wrote.

“The underlying questions will likely never be addressed because of the failings of this particular proposal.”

The turbines are the centerpiece of a project to study the viability of using tidal currents to generate electricity. The turbines will produce

300 kilowatts of energy, which is enough to power 250 homes, but they will only be in place for three to five years.

More in News

Input sought on ferry dock food

The state Department of Transportation wants to know what its passengers are… Continue reading

Outcast presents ‘Inherit the Wind’

Outcast Productions is presenting a well-known classic, “Inherit the Wind,” in a… Continue reading

Island Rowers to honor founder at ceremony

The Island Rowing Association is holding a christening ceremony 9:30 a.m. on… Continue reading

Refugee death recalls a different time

The recent death of a former immigrant from Vietnam who once lived… Continue reading

Fecal coliform persists in surface water

County plans more outreach

Acoustic Music Festival is set for June 30

The tenth annual South Whidbey Acoustic Music Festival is 11 a.m. to… Continue reading

Two Freeland roads to be closed July 3

Two roads in Freeland will be closed from 4 p.m. to 11… Continue reading

Maxwelton button winner announced

The Maxwelton 2019 Button Winner has been announced as 11-year-old Abigail Knott.… Continue reading

Agency hosting foster care info session

In an effort raise awareness of the need for foster parenting on… Continue reading

Most Read