10/02/2017: "New Fiber Optics & Cable By 2018"
(Island Guardian photo)
A future problem with an existing submarine cable was detected in 2011, and by 2014 budgeting and planning allowed the permitting process begin -no small thing that.
A year later a contract was signed for the cable purchase, and construction on the related landward components followed and completed. By 2017 things were close to completion of the laying of the submarine cable.
( OPALCO photo)
OPALCO states the following benefits of the project include the following:
• Maintain a power infrastructure that will support power use in the San Juan Island for the next 50+ years.
• New cable has a no- to very-low impact on the sensitive marine environment. The multiple layers of protection built in replace the need for an oil-filled cable, as the 1977 cable was.
• Install fiber optics (144 strands) for remote monitoring of submarine cable (cable condition, power quality and fault prediction), redundancy in our communications connection to the mainland and increased capacity for county-wide fiber communications.
• Increase system power capacity: each of three phases of electrical conductor can independently carry the entire electric load of San Juan, Brown, Pearl, Henry and Spieden islands.
OPALCO expects completion of testing and cleanup in 2018.