CHPE developer confident about defending contested issues before the New York PSC

The developer of the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is confident about the future of the high-voltage DC (HVDC) project, even though it will return to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) this summer in an effort to resolve seven contested issues about the project (Case 10-T-0139).

The PSC issued a ruling on May 8 that that ordered more testimony about seven specific areas, including whether the project can actually deliver 1,000 MW to a converter station proposed for Astoria, N.Y., and whether the project is economic, as the developer has stated.

The ruling came as no surprise to the project’s developer.

“In any of these settlement negotiations, it’s unlikely you’re going to get all the parties to agree to a complete joint proposal (JP), and there are going to be some parties that are just opposed because it’s not in their constituencies’ best interest for our project to go forward,” Don Jessome, president and CEO of Transmission Developers, Inc. (TDI), told TransmissionHub on May 10.

“We fully expected these issues, in one form or another, would need to be clarified for the parties who were in opposition,” he said.

Shortly before the JP was filed with the PSC following more than a year of closed-door negotiations, the developer advised the PSC that it expected the document to be executed by “a substantial number of the parties” involved in negotiations, according to a PSC ruling dated Feb. 22.

“We were fully prepared that there were going to be parties that would not sign on to the JP, but we’re very proud of the fact that we’ve got 14 parties that have signed on, including all of the state agencies that were involved,” Jessome said.

The parties that did sign the JP, he said, strongly support the project. “We have a very broad range of parties … who are fully prepared to push to have the project’s Article 7 certificate issued based on the joint proposal,” he added.

Jessome said the fact that the PSC will be reviewing only a handful of contested issues is good news.

“It’s a very limited universe of issues that are outstanding considering all the issues that were dealt with through the joint proposal process, so we’re actually quite pleased that it’s a very limited list of issues,” he said.

The seven contested issues were raised by Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED), Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Entergy Nuclear Marketing and Entergy Nuclear FitzPatrick, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 97 and the Independent Power Producers of New York. All were parties to the negotiations that led to the issuance of the JP, Jessome said.

According to the PSC, the questions raised all bear further scrutiny.

Pre-filed testimony regarding the contested points is due at the PSC by June 7, with rebuttals due by June 28. Evidentiary hearings are scheduled to begin July 16.

“The JP parties who have signed on to this proposal in its entirety continue to be steadfast that this is an extremely good project for the state of New York,” Jessome said. “We feel comfortable that we’ll prevail.”

Entergy Nuclear Marketing and Entergy Nuclear FitzPatrick are subsidiaries of Entergy (NYSE: ETR).