Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find the answer to your question below, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to provide more information.

Is HVDC technology a safe way to deliver electricity?

Yes. Similar projects have been developed in many parts of the world, providing experience and effective models to draw upon. Emera in late 2017 completed construction of a 500-megawatt HVDC transmission system with a 110-mile subsea portion between the Atlantic Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. The project went into service in early 2018.

What are the major parts of the proposed Atlantic Link project?

The Atlantic Link project involves installation of two HVDC (high-voltage direct current) transmission cables—entering the water near an existing electric substation at Coleson Cove, New Brunswick and coming ashore at a site near the Pilgrim nuclear generating station at Plymouth, MA. The two cables would be installed together in a narrow trench, buried on the sea floor for protection. The length of the proposed transmission line is approximately 375 miles.

The following elements and associated infrastructure would also be built:

  • two converter stations (at Coleson Cove and at Plymouth) and a new substation in Plymouth
  • onshore anchoring sites

What is HVDC?

HVDC (high-voltage direct current) is an established technology with a long track record of reliable and safe operation around the world. HVDC systems use direct current to transmit electricity rather than alternating current (AC). HVDC electricity transmission systems are less expensive and lose less electricity when used for long-distance power transmission.

Does this kind of underwater cable affect marine life?

The proposed routing of the cable, and its installation, is intended to minimize impact on marine life and habitat. The Atlantic Link, when it proceeds, would be subject to review and approval by environmental regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States. Initial route development has included consultation with those who have an interest in areas where we propose to install the cable. Actual cable installation would be planned to avoid or minimize disruption of normal activities, including fishing/harvesting and activity in sensitive marine habitats. Where possible, the cable would be buried with minimal disruption to the seabed, approximately six feet under the ocean floor.

What about electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are produced by natural forces like the earth’s magnetic field or lightning. EMFs are also generated by electricity and other man-made sources like computers and cell phones. Both electric and magnetic field levels decrease rapidly as you move away from the source.

When electricity flows through a power line, it produces both an electric field and a magnetic field. Direct current (DC) is constant, like current from a battery. Its electric and magnetic fields are also constant and are referred to as static fields. Natural and man-made static fields are all around us. If you've ever walked across a carpet and been shocked when you touched a doorknob, you've experienced a static electric field. Static electric and magnetic fields associated with DC transmission lines aren't generally considered to pose a health concern or to have harmful impacts on marine life.

Where would the project come ashore?

The proposed landing site is in Plymouth, MA near the site of the Pilgrim Nuclear Station which is scheduled to retire in mid-2019. Atlantic Link would connect to the high-voltage transmission lines that currently move energy from the Pilgrim plant onto the grid that serves customers in New England.