Joint proposal for Champlain Hudson Power Express sent to NY PSC

Developers of the proposed Champlain-Hudson Power Express (CHPE) and nearly 30 interested parties including state and local agencies, municipalities, and environmental groups, on Feb. 24 filed a joint proposal for the line with the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC).

The proposal includes details for the construction of the U.S. portion of the line that would extend from the international border to a converter station in Astoria, Queens, and for the construction of a 345-kV AC line that would connect the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) GIS substation to Consolidated Edison’s (NYSE:ED) Rainey substation. Both AC substations are located in Astoria.

In a statement announcing the agreement, the parties proposed the establishment of a $117m environmental fund in support of projects in the Hudson Estuary, the Harlem and East Rivers, Lake Champlain and their tributaries over the next 35 years, the developer said in a statement announcing the proposal. The purpose of the fund is to protect, restore and improve aquatic habitats and fisheries resources for these water bodies.

Representatives for the developer were not immediately available for additional comment.

The DC cables would extend south through Lake Champlain for approximately 101 miles before emerging at the Town of Dresden. From there, the lines would be buried, largely within railroad rights-of-way, to the town of Catskill where they would enter the Hudson River. With the exception of one 7.6-mile stretch under Stony Point State Historic Park Site and Rockland Lake State Park, the lines would follow the Hudson, the Harlem River, and the East River before emerging near Astoria, Queens, according to the document.

According to a letter included with the joint proposal, the CHPE will deliver 1,000 MW of low cost electricity from Quebec to New York City when it is energized in mid-2016. The electricity provided by the CHPE would reduce emissions, provide lower cost electricity to New York City, and will not raise wholesale electricity prices elsewhere in New York State, the letter continued.

The 89-page joint proposal, along with 125 exhibits, was the result of more than 50 settlement conferences with 29 interested parties, known as “settlement negotiations,” under a procedure called a “confidential settlement,” an alternative to having the PSC conduct a formal, and lengthier, review of the project.

“Considering the divergent interests of the various signatories to the joint proposal, [CHPE developer Transmission Developers, Inc.] believes that the process has resulted in a better project than the one that was originally proposed,” TDI president and CEO Don Jessome said in a statement. “While there is still work to be done at the state level, we are now able to move forward with our federal permitting efforts and bring this project one step closer to reality.”

In a letter to the administrative law judges who will be reviewing the proposal, the parties asked that they “recommend that the [PSC] accept and approve the [joint proposal] without modification or condition.”  The proposal will be subject to a public comment period, after which the PSC will review the document and either accept, reject, or modify the final recommendation.