PLATTSBURGH — Wednesday's State of the State looked at the greener side of things as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo discussed future clean energy initiatives, and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas says this was more good news for upstate counties. 

"Our planet is in crisis," Cuomo said. "By every metric it is clear: Sea levels are rising; ice caps are shrinking. California is burning, the Arctic is melting and deserts are flooding.

"We are proposing the largest wind programs in the nation and advancing our green manufacturing capacity and the jobs that go with it," he continued. 

"These projects will not only create power but bring needed economic opportunity to struggling parts of our state, create green jobs, and make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse."

TRANSMISSION SUPERHIGHWAY

One initiative was the $2 billion construction of a 250-mile-long "Green Energy Transmission Superhighway," meant to deliver clean energy from upstate New York and Canada, downstate. 

The project was said to have already begun with the continued construction of a nearly 90-mile-long Smart Path, which will extend from Massena to a village in Lewis County. 

The Empire State issued a request for proposals on Wednesday, looking for bidders to pitch "transmission arteries" that would continue the project.

The state said current and planned investments associated with the transmission superhighway would result in more than 1,000 jobs and $5 billion of public and private sector investment. 

'SUSTAIN AND GROW'

Douglas said the chamber's regional economic development plan had recognized the potential for areas of the North Country to host clean energy, like wind and solar, but said, "the growing limitation has been transmission access and capacity." 

He said the governor's focus on transmission enhancement, "will sustain and grow the alternative energy production potential of the North Country, along with its construction jobs and taxes."

The chamber president highlighted the Champlain-Hudson Power Express (CHPE) project, which could bury high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cables from the northern border down to New York City, including some along the bed of Lake Champlain, to deliver clean, hydro power to downstate users. 

"In the case of the CHPE project, it will further build our important economic partnership with Quebec, tapping more strategically what they have which we need," Douglas says in a recent release, "which is abundant clean hydropower."

GREEN MANUFACTURING

Gov. Cuomo also announced that a combined $644 million of private-public investments would support five wind-related projects, yielding 2,600 short- and long-term jobs. 

The initiative meant to make New York State a "global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse."

Noting that the North Country was already an exciting part of green manufacturing, as a growing hub for the production of buses and trains, including readiness to be a prime source of electric buses for the entire country, Douglas said news of advancing New York's green manufacturing capacity was also welcomed. 

"We will continue to work with the administration to enhance state focus on this particular opportunity for New York and the region." 

Email McKenzie Delisle: 

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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