Champlain Hudson Power Express

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Champlain Hudson Power Express
Location
Country Canada
United States
From Montreal
To New York City
Ownership information
Partners Transmission Developers Inc.
Blackstone Group
Operator TransÉnergie
Construction information
Expected 2017
Technical information
Total length 335 mi (539 km)
Power rating 1,000 MW

The Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine power cable project linking the Montreal area to the New York City neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. If approved, the line is expected to be commissioned in 2017.

The venture, being developed by Transmission Developers Inc. (TDI), a Blackstone Group, L.P. (Blackstone) portfolio company, would carry clean energy - hydropower and wind power from eastern Canada - and feed it directly in the New York City electricity market. Construction costs for this project are estimated at US$2.2 billion for the section located in the State of New York.[1]

The Quebec section of the line would be built and operated by TransÉnergie, the transmission arm of Hydro-Québec.[2]

Background[edit]

Power rates in the New York metro area and Long Island have long been among the highest in the U.S.[3] and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the city is the "epicenter" of grid congestion in the eastern United States. The congestion problem in the New York City area and on Long Island is compounded by the fact that the area uses two-thirds of the state's electricity while most generation and import capacity is located upstate and near the Great Lakes.[4]

Over the years, a number of proposals to increase transmission capacity to the New York City and Long Island markets have encountered hostile reactions and determined opposition from environmental groups and communities along the planned paths.[citation needed]

For instance, construction of the Cross Sound Cable, a 328-MW submarine DC cable linking Connecticut to Long Island via the Long Island Sound, was authorized in 2002, but its commissioning was delayed for a year because of a dispute involving the promoter and the state of Connecticut.[5] Another project, the Neptune Regional Transmission System has been operational since 2007. The 65 miles (105 km) 500 kV cable connects New Jersey and Long Island. It runs buried in the Atlantic Ocean and has a capacity of 660 megawatts.[6]

However, a 400 kilovolts DC line 306 kilometres (190 mi) between the Rock Tavern substation, 60 miles north of New York, and the Marcy hub in central New York, has been marred by controversy. Launched in 2006,[7] the proposed New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) had a 1,200 megawatts capacity. It was shelved by its developers in early 2009 after two years of staunch opposition from several groups concerned by the impact of pylons along the proposed route.[8]

Project[edit]

TDI, whose board is chaired by former Ontario Premier David Peterson, is backed by Blackstone and was announced on February 23, 2010. Since then, the CHPE Project has made significant progress in terms of securing the governmental approvals. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized the Project developers to sell transmission rights at negotiated rates in July 2010.[9] Less than a year later, the New York State Department of State issued its Coastal Zone Consistency determination for the project.[citation needed]

Settlement[edit]

On February 24, 2012, the parties participating in the detailed review of the project being conducted before the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) announced that they had reached a settlement of all of the issues in the proceeding.[10] On April 18, 2013, the New York State Public Service Commission granted the CHPE project a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need, bringing much needed energy resources one step closer to the market.[citation needed]

The CHPE project tries to skirt difficulties encountered by other proposals by presenting itself as an "environmentally benign" solution. By avoiding overhead wires and 10 story high towers, the promoter hopes to avoid the fate of previous projects, such as NYRI. The initial project involved two 1,000 MW lines, the first one to New York, and the second going all the way to Connecticut, via the Long Island Sound. The construction cost for the two lines and converter stations in the U.S. was estimated at $3.8 billion.[11] The line to Connecticut was cancelled in July 2010.[12]

According to the company's president and CEO, Donald Jessome, choosing an underwater route avoids " disrupt[ing] communities with overhead transmission". The developer says that the cable also provides economic and environmental benefits to the state, bringing low-cost and clean power to critical load centers.[11]

Parties Joining the PSC Settlement[edit]

Non-Parties Supporting the Settlement[edit]

  • New York League of Conservation Voters
  • Long Island Association
  • North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • New York State Energy Consumers Council
  • International Union of Operating Engineers
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America
  • New York State Laborers’ Union

Other Parties Supporting the CHPE Project[edit]

  • 20 New York State Members of the United States Congress
  • Empire State Development Corporation
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • New York City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.
  • Coalition Helping Organize a Kleaner Environment (CHOKE)
  • Middletown Times Herald
  • Watertown Daily Times
  • Hydro-Quebec

Route[edit]

The proposed cable would have a length of approximately 335 miles (539 km) between the Canada-U.S. border and its southern terminal, in New York City. The two 5-inch (127 mm) cables would be buried at varying depths of 3 feet (91 cm) under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, Harlem, and East Rivers.[citation needed]

The cables would cross the border under Lake Champlain and would run southward to the Town of Dresden north of the Village of Whitehall. On its way to the Hudson, the cables would be routed briefly taken along State Route 22 and then parallel the Delaware & Hudson Railroad right-of-way to Rotterdam, at which point it accesses the right-of-way of a CSX Transportation rail line, continuing southwards until it enters the Hudson River in the Town of Catskill.[citation needed]

Once the cables are in the Hudson River, they continue south to the Town of Stony Point, where the CSX railroad right-of-way is again relied on until the cables re-enter the Hudson in the Town of Clarkstown. The cables next make landfall in the Harlem River Intermodal Yard in the Bronx, traverses the East River to reach Queens, and terminates at a converter station on the large energy campus in the Astoria neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.[citation needed]

Economics, emission levels, and reliability[edit]

In an economic analysis filed on behalf of the promoter to the New York Public Service Commission in July 2010, London Economics International estimates that the projected line would save New York customers $8.1 billion (2010) on their electricity bills over the first 10 years of operations, between 2015 and 2024.[13] In addition, the proposed cable would have positive impacts on the electricity grid, since power carried by the cables could force the retirement of older, uneconomic power plants in New York. Moreover, the capacity addition provided by the 1,000 MW line is expected to lower the monthly cost of UCAP reserves in the southeastern part of the State.[13]

The planned line, which would carry 7.64 terawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year, would lower SO
2
emissions by 6,800 tonnes, NO
x
emissions by 10,800 tonnes and CO
2
emissions by nearly 37 million tonnes during the first decade of operation.[13]

A study released by TDI in February 2012[14] concludes that the CHPE will create hundreds of jobs directly and thousands of indirect and induced jobs. The Project will also reinforce the reliability of New York’s bulk power delivery system.[citation needed]

The proposed CHPE project has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for a Presidential Permit, and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permits issued pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act, and hence, is subject to the requirement that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared. The CHPE EIS is of an Environmental Impact Statement currently under preparation.[citation needed]

Hydro-Québec's position[edit]

According to the promoter, the Quebec section of the line would start at a DC conversion station to connect with Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie's Hertel substation (735-315 kV) near La Prairie, and would reach the junction point at the international border in Lake Champlain.[2]

The initial reaction of Hydro-Québec (HQ)and the Quebec government to the CHPE project was first met with some skepticism, considering the 400 to 500 million Canadian dollars price tag for the Quebec section of the line. In addition, the CHPE could be seen as competing with a proposed 1,200 MW HVDC line to be built by the company in association with NSTAR and Northeast Utilities, which is expected to increase exports of Quebec hydropower to New England.[15][16] Reflecting on the project in April 2010, Hydro-Quebec's CEO, Thierry Vandal, stated that it was technically "very complex" and "very costly".[17]

Despite its mixed initial reaction, the Quebec utility intervened in support of the proposal before the FERC in May 2010,[18] and the PSC in March 2012.[19][18] In the March 2012 letter,[20] HQ cited the CHPE project’s potential to bring large quantities of renewable energy to downstate New York at no cost to New York ratepayers and the CHPE project’s progress before the PSC as the reasons for entering into "active discussions" with TDI.[citation needed]

Late in January 2013, Hydro-Québec formally filed a project notice to build the Quebec part of the line to the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Devleopment, Environnement, Wildlife and Parks, Yves-François Blanchet. The ±320 kV power line would start at the Hertel transmission station, near La Prairie, to reach the US border on the shore of lake Champlain. The project includes the deployment of a DC terminal at Hertel TS, but in contrast to the US part of the line, Hydro-Québec excludes running the line in the Richelieu riverbed.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transmission Developers Inc. (2010), "Project Details: Background", Champlain Hudson Power Express, retrieved 2010-08-02 
  2. ^ a b Transmission Developers Inc. (2010-05-03), Application for Authority to Sell Transmission Rights at Negotiated Rates and Request for Expedited Action, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, p. 7, retrieved 2010-08-02 
  3. ^ Sanderson, Bill (2010-01-29), "Con Ed electric prices highest of any major utility, federal numbers show", New York Post (New York), retrieved 2010-08-02 
  4. ^ United States Department of Energy (December 2009), 2009 National Electric Transmission Congestion Study, Washington, pp. 45–48 
  5. ^ State of New York (2004-06-25), "Governor Pataki hails agreement on Cross Sound Cable and gives order to energize cable and make it operational", Long Island Power Authority, retrieved 2009-11-29 
  6. ^ Neptune Regional Tramsmission System (July 2007), Neptune: Project Overview, retrieved 2010-08-02 
  7. ^ NYRI (2010-04-08), An Introduction to New York Regional Interconnection, retrieved 2010-08-02 
  8. ^ Cooper, Elizabeth (2009-04-04), "NYRI quits; Power line project dead", Utica Observer-Dispatch (Utica, NY), retrieved 2010-08-02 
  9. ^ "Press Release: TDI ANNOUNCES IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHAMPLAIN HUDSON POWER EXPRESS". Champlain Hudson Power Express. 
  10. ^ "Application of Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need Pursuant to Article VII". NYS Department of Public Service. 
  11. ^ a b Bosch, Adam (2010-02-26), "Canadians plan under-water power line", Times-Herald Record (Albany, NY), retrieved 2010-03-02 
  12. ^ Turmelle, Luther (2010-07-09), "Canadian electric cable won’t reach Connecticut", The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT), retrieved 2010-08-02 
  13. ^ a b c London Economics International LLC (2010-07-16), Projected Energy Market, Capacity Market and Emissions Impact Analysis of the Champlain-Hudson Power Express Transmission Project for New York, Boston, pp. 8–11 
  14. ^ "Analysis of the Macroeconomic Impacts of the". Champlain Hudson Power Express. 
  15. ^ Presse canadienne (2010-03-02), "Une ligne de 2000 MW entre le Québec et New York?", La Presse (in French) (Montreal), retrieved 2010-03-02 
  16. ^ Rulison, Larry (2010-03-16), "Quebec puts its power on the line", Albany Times-Union (Albany, NY): 1, retrieved 2010-03-19 
  17. ^ Baril, Hélène (2010-04-09), "Hydro-Québec: "on va livrer ce qui a été demandé"", La Presse (in French) (Montreal), retrieved 2010-04-09 
  18. ^ H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) (May 24, 2010), "Motion to Intervene of H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc. and Comments in Support of Application under ER10-1175", Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Washington) 
  19. ^ Larocque, Sylvain (2010-07-09), "Hydro-Quebec gets behind proposed transmission line to US", Canadian Business, Canadian Press, retrieved 2010-07-10 
  20. ^ "Article VII Public Documents". NYS DPS. 
  21. ^ St-Pierre, Annie (January 29, 2013). "Projet d'exportation d'Hydro-Québec vers New York". Argent (in French). Retrieved January 29, 2013. 

External links[edit]