Independent transmission operators tout progress

A couple of independent transmission developers highlighted some of their successful projects in the Northeast and their hopes for additional non-utility projects in the future.

Transmission Developers Inc. CEO Don Jessome and Anbaric Transmission Senior Vice President Clarke Bruno told TransForum East Dec. 2 that cooperating with everyone from landowners to public interest groups is critical for a non-utility transmission developer.

Money, politics and friends are all crucial, Bruno said during the conference sponsored by PennWell’s TransmissionHub.

Given that independent transmission companies lack the power to use imminent domain, it is especially important for them to develop cooperative relationships, Jessome said.

“We have to make friends,” Bruno said. “We have to make friends at every step of the way,” Bruno said.

Anbaric developed the Neptune Project, an HVDC undersea and underground power cable that links the PJM grid to New York and serves the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) with 660MW of power – enough for 600,000 homes. The cable runs approximately 65 miles between Sayreville, New Jersey, and New Cassel (North Hempstead) on Long Island.

Anbaric is also involved with the Hudson Transmission Project, a 660 MW electric transmission link between New York City and the PJM Interconnection. Anbaric is also involved in micro-grids, Bruno said.

Transmission Developers put together the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 1,000 MW project to bring renewable hydro power from Canada to the New York metro area. The High Voltage direct current (HVdc) cable will be placed in waterways or buried along railway routes.

The project successfully secured a presidential permit to cross the U.S.-Canada border, Jessome said.

The project has nearly all of its necessary permits secured. Jessome noted that in the early stages, Transmission Developers decided to meet with the Riverkeeper organization to hear its concerns about the project.

Transmission Developers is also taking what it learned through the $2.2.bn Champlain Hudson project and applied the lessons to the New England Clean Power Link project that it started working on in 2013.

Like the first project it will use HVDC technology. It will be built along a 150-mile route in Vermont.  Jessome noted that Vermont is likely to need more carbon-free power given the impending retirement of the Entergy (NYSE:ETR) Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The major government licenses for the New England project should be issued in late 2015, Jessome said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.