Champlain Hudson Power Express
|Champlain Hudson Power Express|
|To||New York City|
|Partners||Transmission Developers Inc.|
|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 2021.
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 Background
- 2 Project
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Power rates in the New York metro area and Long Island have long been among the highest in the U.S. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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, 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.
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. Less than a year later, the New York State Department of State issued its Coastal Zone Consistency determination for the project.
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. On April 18, 2013, the New York State Public Service Commission granted the CHPE project a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need.
The CHPE project tries to avoid 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. The line to Connecticut was cancelled in July 2010.
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.
Parties Joining the PSC Settlement
- Staff of the New York State Department of Public Service (NEPA cooperating agency)
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NEPA cooperating agency)
- New York State Department of State (granted Coastal Zone approval in 2011)
- New York State Department of Transportation (limited to infrastructure)
- Adirondack Park Agency
- New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
- Riverkeeper, Inc.
- Scenic Hudson, Inc.
- Trout Unlimited
- City of Yonkers
- City of New York
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
- Palisades Interstate Park Commission
- Vermont Electric Power Company (limited to infrastructure)
Non-Parties Supporting the Settlement
- 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
- 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
Opposition to Project
According to the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club, some towns in Rockland had called on Governor Cuomo to press then-President Obama to stop this agreement. As this is an agreement with a foreign country, his approval was needed. In continuation, as of September 2017 the newly elected Donald Trump administration has also not addressed this issue. Part of Iona Island which contains a bird sanctuary is to be blasted to make way for CHPE project. Three planned CHPE cooling stations are to be located in a state park in the Haverstraw/West Haverstraw vicinity. Residents of this area are also concerned about property seizures under eminent domain.
There is also opposition from New York labor unions because most construction jobs will go to workers from out of State.
The Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club has asked its members to oppose this project. New York wind energy producers currently cannot get their electricity carried to the New York City. It is the Sierra club's contention that CHPE will stop any chance of New York City getting locally produced wind power and in general dampen the market for local alternative energy production.
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.
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.
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.
Economics, emission levels, and reliability
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. 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.
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.
A study released by TDI in February 2012 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.
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.
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.
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. Reflecting on the project in April 2010, Hydro-Quebec's CEO, Thierry Vandal, stated that it was technically "very complex" and "very costly".
Despite its mixed initial reaction, the Quebec utility intervened in support of the proposal before the FERC in May 2010, and the PSC in March 2012. In the March 2012 letter, 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.
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 Development, Environment, 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.
- "Champlain Hudson Power Express Project Development Portal". Transmission Developers Inc. 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
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