Champlain Hudson Power Express to create more than 2,000 jobs in the region

A study released Feb. 2 says the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is expected to create more than 2,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, many of which will last for years after the project is complete.

“We’ll have approximately 300 direct construction jobs – primarily union positions – for the physical construction of the line and building of the converter station,” Don Jessome, president and CEO of Transmission Developers, Inc. (TDI), told TransmissionHub on Feb. 2. The number of direct jobs created is expected to peak at approximately 600 at the height of construction in 2015.

The study, performed by London Economics International, said economic activity that will be generated by the 3.5-year construction phase of the project will create an average of more than 1,200 indirect and induced jobs in New York State from suppliers and various businesses in local communities along the project’s route.

The indirect and induced positions will be spread out over a broad spectrum of the economy including the health care, accommodations and food service, professional and technical services, construction, real estate and retail sectors.

London Economics is an international consultancy that specializes in energy and infrastructure investment.

The developer said many of the jobs the project will create will last well beyond the 42-month construction period.

“Post construction, there’s a fairly substantial consumer benefit of approximately $650m a year from bringing low-cost hydro [power] into the New York City marketplace,” Jessome said. “That has an impact of creating approximately 2,400 indirect and induced jobs from the benefits of consumer savings [that are] expected to last many, many years into the future and support those indirect and induced jobs,” Jessome said.

Such studies are not immune from controversy.

In January, an independent study commissioned by the New England Power Generators (NEPG) concluded that the number of jobs that would be created by the proposed Northern Pass transmission project would range from 241 to 533 — less than half the number estimated in a study released in April 2011 by the project’s developer, Northern Pass Transmission LLC.

The CHPE is a 333-mile underwater and underground HVDC transmission line that will deliver 1,000 MW of hydro and wind energy to the New York City metropolitan area. TDI has been developing the $2bn private sector CHPE project for more than three years.

Discussions with 29 interested parties, known as “settlement negotiations,” have been taking place behind closed doors since early 2011 under a procedure called a “confidential settlement,” which is an alternative to having the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) conduct a formal, and lengthier, review of the project.

“We’ve very close [to an agreement] and I am confident that we can file, on Feb. 17, a settled case” with the New York PSC, Jessome told TransmissionHub. “That doesn’t mean we’re finished but it does mean that the parties who signed the joint proposal have agreed on the merits of the case and will support the project moving forward.”

Once the joint proposal is filed, the PSC will review it and either accept, reject, or modify the final recommendation.