Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Champlain Hudson Power Express

Hydro-Quebec is a Canadian state-owned utility that has received approval to sell power through the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 330-mile long cable that will run through Lake Champlain, then follow railroad beds and down the Hudson. It recently requested access to state money to help fund the $2 billion project. The state's pot of money to support renewable energy projects currently comes from a utility bill surcharge on New York residents and cannot be distributed to companies from out of state.

The company that would build the line, Transmission Developers Inc.(TDI), is based in Albany. The project received state approval earlier this year, but still needs the go-ahead from federal regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

TDI has not sought any state funds, company president Donald Jessome said, but he understands why Hydro-Quebec has sought financial incentives for the project.

Hydro-Quebec produces power from 60 hydroelectric, a nuclear and 27 thermal generating stations. New York uses the utility surcharge to support the development of alternative energy, but it is intended for projects by state companies.

Environmentalists and labor unions have hailed the project because it will decrease reliance on fossil fuels while creating hundreds of construction jobs over the four years it will take to construct. It will bring 1,000 megawatts of cheap renewable-energy power to New York, enough to power a million homes.

But the prospect of using state money to finance a foreign company's work on the project has drawn opposition from a local industry group.  (Capital New York, 11/18/2013)

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