Nalcor Energy is proposing to develop the Labrador – Island Transmission Link (the Project), a high voltage direct current (HVdc) transmission system extending from Central Labrador to the Island of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula which will include the installation of submarine cables across the Strait of Belle Isle (SOBI). In preparation for, and support of the Project, Nalcor Energy has submitted to Marine Habitat Protection Section of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador a series of environmental assessment reports. In November 2011, the report entitled "Marine Environment and Effects Modelling Component Study" was submitted. The submission is comprised of three study reports: (1) Strait of Belle Isle: Oceanographic Environment and Sediment Modelling (June 2011) – A study to model the likely characteristics of sedimentation that may occur as a result of marine construction activities associated with the Strait of Belle Isle submarine cable crossing, (2) Sound Modelling: Proposed Strait of Belle Isle Cable Installation Activities (June 2011) – A study to estimate and describe potential sound level resulting from the proposed construction activities associated with underwater cable installation in the Strait of Belle Isle, and (3) Environmental Modelling: Proposed Shore Electrodes (August 2011) – A study to estimate the emissions associated with monopolar and bipolar operations of the electrodes for two HVdc system voltages, 320 kV and 400 kV. The report can be accessed at the following link, http://www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/env_assessment/projects/Y2010/1407/index.html.
The environmental modeling presented in this Marine Environment and Effects Modelling Component Study will be incorporated and used in the Project’s eventual Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will provide a summary description of the existing environment and an environmental effects assessment for the Project. While these reports will feed into the assessment of potential environmental effects, they do not in themselves constitute an analysis of what these may be.
The Marine Habitat Protection Section (NL Region) sent a request to Science Branch on November 7, 2011 and a response was requested by December 8, 2011. A Science Special Response Process (SSRP) was used due to the short deadline for advice.
A number of questions and issues about the formulation of the models and the assumptions used to parameterize them were raised with respect to the Oceanographic Environment and Sediment Modelling report. Several problems remain with the Sound Modelling report.
This Science Response report is from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Regional Science Special Response Process (SSRP) of November 7 – December 8th, 2011 on the Science review of the Environmental Assessment report on Marine Environment and Effects Modelling Component Study.
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