Corps takes comment on ITC’s permit app for cross-Lake Erie power line project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Pittsburgh will be taking comment until July 25 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act application from ITC Lake Erie Connector LLC under which the company proposes to construct, operate, maintain, and connect the U.S. end of a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will cross the U.S.-Canada border.

The HVDC line would extend south from the U.S.-Canada international border in the middle of Lake Erie, buried under the bottom of Lake Erie for approximately 35.4 miles, then exit the lake and temporarily impact 0.42 acre of wetland and 1,283 linear feet of streams. The project will permanently impact 117 linear feet of streams and permanently convert 1.12 acre of Palustrine Forested wetlands (PFO) to Palustrine Emergent (PEM) wetlands for the approximately seven mile terrestrial portion along or in existing roads to the proposed 6-acre Erie Converter Station, where an approximately 0.4 mile High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) line would connect to the existing Pennsylvania Electric (Penelec) Erie West Substation in Erie County, Pa.

Also, the U.S. Department of Energy is out for comment until July 5 on a draft Environmental Assessment on this 1,000-MW transmission project. ITC Lake Erie Connector has applied to DOE for a Presidential permit to construct, operate and maintain an approximate 72-mile long, 1,000-MW, +/-320-kV, HVDC transmission system that originates in Haldimand County, Ontario, and terminates in Erie County, Pa.

The proposed LEC Project would cross the United States-Canadian border in Lake Erie as a submerged cable (approximately 35 miles underwater in Lake Erie within the United States) and would emerge onshore on private property, west of Erie Bluffs State Park. The proposed LEC Project would then track approximately seven miles underground to a proposed +/- 320-kV new direct current (DC) to 345-kV alternating current (AC) HVDC converter station (new Erie Converter Station) in Conneaut Township, Erie County, Pa.

Approximately 2,153 feet of 345-kV AC underground transmission cables would run between the new proposed Erie Converter Station and the nearby Penelec Erie West Substation. The proposed LEC Project would terminate at the existing Penelec Erie West Substation and interconnect with the transmission system operated by PJM Interconnection.

ITC Lake Erie has stated that the proposed LEC Project would provide improved access to markets and could be used to support energy and environmental policy goals, enhance power system reliability, and provide substantial public benefits. These public benefits include providing the ability to use renewable power, including hydroelectric power, generated in Canada to help support electric demand in Pennsylvania and more broadly in PJM to make up for capacity lost as a result of coal and other fossil fuel plant retirements in the U.S.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.