April 21, 2013

Underwater power line gets another approval

PLATTSBURGH — An underwater direct-current electric transmission line under Lake Champlain has moved one step closer to construction.

The Champlain-Hudson Power Express, a completely buried, 333-mile transmission line that will bring 1,000 megawatts of energy to the New York market, has received a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need from the New York State Public Service Commission.

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The certificate was granted after three years of state and public review as part of the commission’s Article VII permitting process and represents a major step forward for the $2 billion project, developed by Transmission Developers Inc.

The decision signifies its members believe there is need for a facility, the project is environmentally compatible and is in compliance with state law, a press release from the commission said.

“With this order, we grant the developer a certificate to construct and operate a transmission project known as the Champlain-Hudson Power Express Project,” Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown said in the release. “The certificate will adopt most of the terms and conditions presented to us in a joint proposal and in stipulations that have the full or partial support of a wide range of parties to this case.”


Benefits cited in the commission’s decision include private financing of the line, which shields ratepayers from increased prices due to construction and operation costs. The commission also cited a reduction in air pollution as more power comes from hydropower and less from fuel-burning electricity production.

It would also help diversify power options for New York City and strengthen the security of the power transmission system if one part of it were to suffer a blackout. Transmission Developers’ agreement to fund a $117.5 million trust for the enhancement of aquatic habitats and fisheries resources in Lake Champlain and the Hudson, Harlem and East rivers and their tributaries also factored in the approval.

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