DOE seeks comment on enviro review for Lake Erie power transmission project

The U.S. Department of Energy is out for comment until July 5 on a draft Environmental Assessment on a 1,000-MW transmission project that will run under Lake Erie from Ontario to western Pennsylvania.

ITC Lake Erie Connector LLC has applied to the Department of Energy (DOE) for a Presidential permit to construct, operate and maintain an approximate 72-mile long, 1,000-MW, +/-320-kV), high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission system that originates in Haldimand County, Ontario, and terminates in Erie County, Pennsylvania. The United States’ portion of the proposed ITC Lake Erie Project is approximately 42.8 miles in length.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) addresses the potential environmental impacts of the proposed transmission line (Preferred Alternative) and the No Action Alternative. The proposed transmission cable would include both aquatic (underwater) and terrestrial (primarily underground) segments in Pennsylvania. The underwater portions of the proposed transmission cable would be buried in the bed of Lake Erie, and the terrestrial portions would be buried, principally in roadway right-of-way (ROW).

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, Pennsylvania. Approximately 2,153 feet of 345-kV AC underground transmission cables would run between the new proposed Erie Converter Station and the nearby Pennsylvania Electric (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.