Massachusetts company proposes Plattsburgh-Burlington electricity transmission line

Developers are lining up to bring renewable power to southern New England as part of a regional initiative that guarantees a ratepayer-backed return on investment.

In response to a six-state strategy to bring more clean power to the region, a Massachusetts transmission company said it wants to bury a transmission line under Lake Champlain to connect industrial wind power in New York to a Burlington substation.

“It’s a unique moment in time,” said Edward Krapels, CEO for Anbaric Transmission, which is in the early stages of proposing the 40-mile project called the Grand Isle Intertie.

Governors of the six New England states announced a plan last year to bring up to 3,600 megawatts of renewable power to the region’s power grid in order to meet higher renewable energy targets. This plan includes importing industrial wind and hydroelectric power from Canada and New York.

Anbaric Transmission map

Anbaric Transmission map

The company says the initiative creates the opportunity to import New York wind power as the region closes fossil fuel-powered plants and strives to meet higher renewable portfolio standards.

“The line accomplishes a public policy objective of all the New England states, which is clean energy,” Krapels said.

The states’ initiative would set up a new financing scheme that provides a ratepayer-backed financial guarantee for projects approved through a competitive bidding process. The states will release the RFP by late summer, according to the Vermont Department of Public Service.

DPS Commissioner Chris Recchia said the state will not support any project that is not good for Vermont ratepayers. But environmental watchdog groups say it is unclear what effect the initiative will have on rates and the environment.

Sandra Levine, a senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, supports projects to bring renewable power to the region, but questions the initiative.

“We don’t want to be using ratepayers’ dollars to overbuild. That’s a waste of money and it’s harmful to the environment,” she said.

The group filed a public records request to the six states for all documents related to transmission build-outs, natural gas pipeline capacity and hydropower imports from Canada.

Recchia said the states will hold a series of public meetings to present the region’s plan in preparation for bidding process. The meetings will include a range of stakeholders, including environmental groups and developers.

Anbaric has filed with ISO New England (ISO-NE) and New York ISO (NYISO), the regions’ grid operators, for an interconnection permit, which can take more than a year to complete, the company said.

Another developer of a merchant transmission project, which will use private money for the project, views the state’s initiative as an indication that there is the political will to advance the project.

Transmission Developers Inc., or TDI New England, has plans to run a 150-mile cable from Canada to southern Vermont. The New England Clean Power Link, the name of the project, still needs state and federal approval.

The company saw clear market signals to move the project forward: tightened renewable energy standards, power plants going offline (including the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant) and broad agreement between the six states and premiers in eastern Canadian provinces.

Together, these signals opened up the opportunity to bring Canadian hydroelectric power to the region’s load centers, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to Don Jessome, the company’s CEO.

The company said the project will benefit Vermont and the region – benefits that outweigh the environmental impacts of laying a high-voltage line under Lake Champlain, as the proposal indicates.

“It will definitely drive down rates in Vermont,” he said, to the tune of $100 million of the first 10 years.

The company, a Wall Street financial services subsidiary, will not seek any money from ratepayers for the project.

Vermont Electric Power Co. (VELCO), the state’s transmission utility, is considering investing in these projects, selling or renting right-of-way easements, or selling cultural and environmental engineering data to developers.

John Herrick

Comments

  1. Wayne Andrews :

    “We don’t want to be using ratepayers’ dollars to overbuild. That’s a waste of money and it’s harmful to the environment,” she said.

    In other words, “Lets get caught with our pants down before we do anything”

    • John Greenberg :

      Could you explain this? Perhaps I’m dense, but I have no idea what you’re suggesting here.

  2. Kathy Nelson :

    If wind power was so great then why aren’t the people of New York using the wind power they got suckered into?
    This project is about catering to political vanity and corporate greed. It’s about putting in unnecessary transmission as an excuse to feed the greed associated with renewable energy scams. See the link below to read about how “Cadillac” Deval, governor of MA, has failed in his idiotic energy schemes (just as Peter Shumlin has):

    http://www.wbur.org/2014/03/24/wind-turbine-energy#comment-1300090796

    The people in the states to our south don’t want the nastiness and uselessness that comes with industrial wind and have fought it tooth and nail, but it’s okay with them to trash the states north of them so politicians like Deval can say he’s saving the planet by having MA ratepayers pay for useless wind energy and expensive transmission costs. Oh, and don’t forget the collusion between these six governors will allow even more ratepayer money from all six states to be pumped into these unnecessary projects.
    How stupid are we all going to continue to be? If MA and NY want to embrace the hype of renewable energy scams then let them build their industrial wind turbines, industrial solar arrays, gas pipelines and transmission lines in their own states, and stop using the hype to protect their own real estate values and interests.
    A pox on this whole project. DPS should not be falling for such an obvious scam.

    • Richard Ratico :

      Kathy,

      You are outraged. That’s understandable. There’s plenty of news to be outraged about. Wind turbines and new infrastructure to distribute their power are the least of that. As you know, many environmentally aware individuals, in fact, consider them “good news”.

      We share a single planet. Greed may ultimately undo all of us. If you truly desire to get to it’s roots please consider redirecting your considerable energies towards a more worthy target.

      Yesterday Michael Lewis, in his new book, laid out the facts of how the entire U.S. stock market is being “gamed”. The greed behind this scam will really make your blood boil.

      Mr. Lewis’s piece in the NYT should be read by everyone.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/magazine/flash-boys-michael-lewis.html

      He also appeared on “60 Minutes”.

      • Kathy Nelson :

        Good heavens Richard! Since when hasn’t the stock market been gamed? It is the game of elites and it’s been around forever. The only way to fix it is for the Atlantic ocean to make a sudden move west and create a new shoreline somewhere along the Poconos Mountains. And I sincerely doubt that would flush it all out of the system.
        My “outrage” as you call it lies with the foul arrogance of both politicians and corporate fat cats who look at the world as something to be used for their gratification and to hell with anything that gets in their way.
        The transmission project described in this article is not about bringing the fallacy of green power to MA, it’s about some corporation’s so-called right to stomp over people to get their way and make their profits.
        Be careful, Richard, about your support for these stompers, the next person getting an eviction notice due to eminent domain may be you.

        • Richard Ratico :

          Kathy,

          Believe it or not, I’m actually more of a socialist than a capitalist. It’s most important to be a realist.

          Our capitalist system happens to turn on profits. “The game of elites”, as you call it, contains much of the retirement funds of everyday Americans.

          Large corporations developed the energy system we use now and will develop whatever energy systems we install in the future. As citizens, we MAY help decide what gets installed. But make no mistake, something will be.

          Some power IS greener than others. It is not a fallacy. A piece of what is mostly sand, silicon, turns free sunlight directly into electricity. That is miraculous. Wind turbines that use the same principles of aerodynamics that allow birds to fly are arguably quite beautiful. Are these things perfect? Of course not.

          But, are they better than burning irreplaceable fossil fuels or cracking atoms and producing extraordinarily toxic waste that must be isolated for 100,000 years? Unquestionably.

          Choose your battles carefully Kathy. And please don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

          • Willem Post :

            Richard, by far, the greenest, least costly, least polluting power is increase energy efficiency, i.e, use less, and use more efficiently what you do use.

            That is the reason, energy efficiency should be done BEFORE RE, because, the less we use, the smaller, less costly the RE systems need to be; sort of like putting the horse before the cart, instead of behind it.

            That is the reason Vermont should have a building code that requires ALL new buildings to be net zero energy, or energy surplus.

            Such buildings would need PV solar systems and thermal solar systems, which would greatly help your business, and the businesses of the other building trades.

          • Richard Ratico :

            Willem,

            Once again, I respectfully suggest you be one of the first to build that new net zero energy home here in Vermont. You can afford it, while most cannot.

            The payback / break even point on the net zero details of that home are pretty far out there. Most folks are having trouble purchasing PV for precisely that reason.

            In case you’re still unaware of it, new home construction in Vermont is at a virtual standstill.
            Suddenly requiring all new construction to be net zero and therefore much more expensive would not be wise.

            A gradual transition is appropriate and is in fact happening and has been for the 34 years I’ve been involved in residential construction. Remember, it took you almost 30 years to insulate your rim joists.

            Were you waiting for a subsidy to do it?

          • Willem Post :

            Richard,
            You incorrectly read my much earlier comment.

            I insulated the rim joists in 1989, BEFORE the second winter started after we moved in.

            The builder had “forgot”to do it, as another builder did just recently regarding a new house of a friend.

            I ADDED more Fiberglas insulation early THIS year to achieve ADDITIONAL energy savings at a cost of about $125, instead of heaving a contractor spray foam it for about $1300.

            I obtained a much neater job, at much less cost, and reduced my energy use at less $/Btu.

            Regarding NEAR Passivhaus construction, the EXTRA cost of such a house in Germany is 5-8%, which results in a annual fuel and electricity cost reduction is about 80%, about $2,5o0/yr less in my case.

            If a standard house (just the house nothing else), were to cost $250,000 and a Passive house 8% more, or $20,000 more, then the payback would be 8 years, less if energy prices increase.

            BTW, that payback would be achieved WITHOUT any subsidies, unlike the longer payback of PV solar.

    • Willem Post :

      Kathy, the same type of people run the RE racket, as do the Wall Street racket. It has to do with making money at the expense of all others, under one guise or other.

      • Richard Ratico :

        Willem,
        If this is true, then that is indeed how you and the corporations you worked for made your money as well.

      • Richard Ratico :

        Willem,

        I understood you the first time. In 1989 you installed the amount of insulation you felt was appropriate. Being an engineer, I’m sure you carefully considered the cost of the fiberglass and the labor to install it as well as the fuel it would save and the additional comfort it would provide.

        And, obviously compromises were made, because you also installed a 1200 gallon fuel tank. Sure, having a bigger tank allows you to get a much better price on the fuel, but really?
        You use a lot of propane. Period. Big house?

        You could and should have done MUUUCH better, as you like to say, particularly given your line of work. Three years EARLIER, in 1986, I was part of a crew that built a “super insulated” home. It had 12″ thick walls with 12″ of fiberglass, 36″ in the attic, airtight construction, air to air heat recovery, thermal mass, south facing fenestration, radiant heat under the tiled floors.

        The owner was a wealthy guy, like you. He also designed and built high end custom homes when he was “in the mood” so to speak. He was a SELF TAUGHT expert on energy efficient construction. HE NEVER BOASTED ABOUT IT THOUGH. He still lives there.

        Regarding your demand that, “Vermont should have a building code that requires ALL new buildings to be net zero energy, or energy surplus.”, in your most recent comment above, attempting to defend that position, you try to pull off the old bait & switch act. All of a sudden , instead of “NET zero energy” you’re talking about “NEAR” zero energy. BIG DIFFERENCE, Willem, but good try.

        Even the 8% increase you claim, if accurate, is a big hit for most people. Of course going on to NET ZERO is considerably more expensive. And in fact, by definition, requires the addition of a renewable energy system of some sort. Solar and small wind are all we’ve got for a residence. Are you now suggesting they be mandated by law? Would they be net metered, Willem, I wonder?

        And please correct me if I’m wrong, but you also wrote, “Regarding NEAR Passivhaus construction, the EXTRA cost of such a house in Germany is 5-8%, which results in a annual fuel and electricity cost reduction is about 80%, about $2,5o0/yr less in my case.” Do you own a second, or third, home in Germany? Just curious about your concern for the “poor Vermont” as you call it, where you choose to live. Or do you??

    • Glenn Thompson :

      Kathy Nelson,

      “If wind power was so great then why aren’t the people of New York using the wind power they got suckered into?”

      That’s a great question? And I hope someone can answer it? Why on Earth transport wind power generated electricity created in NY state to NE when that unreliable, unpredictable, and inefficient power source should be used in the area the wind turbines are located? Looks to me, the only reason is the attempt to achieve the unrealistic renewable power goals set forward by the New England governors?

      Looking at it from a ratepayer’s perspective, this proposed electric transmission line is a total ‘waste of money’!

  3. Mary Skutel :

    This is another example of big, out of state interests suckering and trampling on Vermont. Tell me again how this is a benefit to Vermonters? A resounding”NO” to any power or gas lines destroying our beautiful lake!

    • Richard Ratico :

      Mary,

      The folks who ultimately use this energy, where ever they might be, are your neighbors. The concept of participating in something even a little bit larger than yourself is just plain too old fashioned I guess.

      Apparently selfishness has caused some people to develop an ability to see something buried in the bottom of the lake without using SCUBA gear or even getting in the water. Those types have historically been known to eventually grow horns from their foreheads and run in circles muttering “suckering and trampling, suckering and trampling”.

  4. Willem Post :

    The New York variable, intermittent wind energy, i.e., junk energy, is generated at about the same capacity factor as the Vermont and Maine ridge line energy, i.e. less than 0.25, versus the standard hyped “prediction” of o.32 or better, to get permits and subsidies, or, in case of GMP’s Lowell, the super- hyped “prediction” of 0.3587, “with the bigger rotor”.

    • Richard Ratico :

      Wind energy is clean. The wind itself is free.

      The nukes Willem prefers have a a higher capacity factor, but the fuel is expensive and toxic, as are the waste they leave behind which remains so for 100,000 years.

      Capacity factor is meaningless after a reactor meltdown that will take nearly a century to clean up.

      • Kathy Nelson :

        “Wind energy is clean. The wind itself is free.”

        Wind energy is not “clean” Richard. Wind turbines must be built, transported and installed and that is a messy business requiring tons of fossil fuels. The wind is “free” and so are the atoms that are split to produce nuclear power.
        A non-polluting, baseline, capacity factor of 80% to 90% for 30 to 50 years (or more), from a single location far outshines an intermittent capacity factor of 15% to 30% spread out over thousands of acres of ruined forest and agricultural lands.

        There are scientific and practical advancements for the recycling of nuclear wastes:

        http://analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.com/operations-maintenance/recycling-spent-nuclear-fuel-ultimate-solution-us

        No practical solutions have been offered for the recovery of the lands and natural resources destroyed by industrial wind (including offshore wind) when these economically unfeasible projects are abandoned after 15 or 20 years and thousands of tons of non-recyclable plastic turbine blades are left lying on the ground where they fall. Just like the blades that have been left lying on the ground and in the trees at Searsburg, VT when one of its turbines crashed to the ground due to high winds in 2008.

        And don’t kid yourself, Richard, wind turbines do kill people and destroy property:

        http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/accidents.pdf

        We don’t hear much about it because that industry is a complete failure when it comes to reporting accidents and fatalities. They get away with that because corporate controlled politics let’s them.

        Nuclear power can be safely operated and it’s wastes can be controlled and reused. A new fusion reactor is being built in the heart of France right now. It is simply up to us to take the adult steps it requires to do the job safely, with no political idiocy involved.

  5. Richard Ratico :

    Kathy,

    Wow, did you have me fooled. I thought you were anti-nuke.
    That explains your wind position completely.

    You wrote, “It is simply up to us to take the adult steps it requires to do the job safely, with no political idiocy involved.”

    THAT is precisely the problem. People being people, it simply does not happen and never will. Adults frequently behave like children or worse.

    Corners are ALWAYS cut to save money. Two of the cooling towers at Vermont Yankee COLLAPSED. They simply fell down. These weren’t in some hard to inspect, concealed spot. They are enormous and completely out in the open. Entergy Officials LIED about the pipes leaking tritium.

    The regulators and industry executives are in bed with each other. The nuke owners have to be FORCED to make plants safe. They fight safety upgrades every step of the way.

    And even people with the best intentions still make mistakes and always will. The designers of Fukushima located the backup generators in the basement, on a coast with a history of tsunamis! Three Mile Island would not have suffered a meltdown
    had the operators not made human errors.

    If nukes were safe private insurers would trip over themselves to get their business. But no private insurer will touch a nuke. We, the taxpayers, are on the hook when something goes wrong. Even our homeowners insurance has an entire page, informing us we are not covered in the event of damage caused by a reactor accident. Are wind turbines insured by private companies? No problem there Kathy.

    I started undergraduate work at Penn State in 1969 majoring in Nuclear Engineering. I took some courses in the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor building. That reactor, which went critical in 1955, is still in operation today, almost 60 years later. It was a thing of beauty.

    The reactor core was completely exposed to view, but submerged in a large, deep, water filled pool. In operation it emitted an intense, heavenly, blue light. I will never forget it.

    But no cost was spared in it’s construction, operation and maintenance. Anything of metal was high quality stainless steel. The machine work and fabrication were gorgeous. It was constantly updated. That is NOT the way commercial reactors are built and run.

    Your argument concerning the danger of wind turbines is just lame. Please provide a link that compares wind industry injuries with injuries at nukes or coal plants or with auto injuries or jaywalking for that matter, during the same time period.

    • Kathy Nelson :

      Richard, your information on nuclear reactors is outdated. You know what you know and that’s it for you. I prefer a broader scope.

      There would be no scientific advancement at all if people were not capable of working together. The problems arise when corporate and political greed become a factor. Humans are an immature species, we can work toward maturity or we can die.

      I had the opportunity to meet Captain Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and VT resident, just before the ruling came out from the International Court of Justice against the Japanese for illegally taking whales out of the southern whale sanctuary. What this confirmed for me was that it is possible for humans to do the right thing by the planet and the sentient creatures we share it with.
      And I have been watching the recovery of nature in the zones lost to humans when Chernobyl blew. Even with pockets of radiation that scare off humans, nature is reclaiming those places because humans are not there to foul the environment further. The ecosystems, flora and fauna, will recover without us and in spite of us.

      We are the problem, Richard, not one energy source or another. What we take has been much more than we have been willing to give.
      We work together for safe power sources or we pay out to the greedy who wreck forests and farmland for a destructive, obsolete technology that makes a few people wealthy enough to live in comfortable, sealed underground bunkers.

      I don’t have to provide you with links to further injury studies, Richard. You obviously didn’t read the one I did provide. That’s okay, I accept the fact that you already know all you need to know. But here is some reading for you:

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Liability-for-Nuclear-Damage/

      https://www.phmsociety.org/sites/phmsociety.org/files/PHM%20in%20the%20Mitigation%20of%20Financial%20Risk%20Mathias%20Horman.pdf

      • Richard Ratico :

        Wrong again Kathy,

        I did read it. Yes, there are accidents in the wind industry. There are accidents in every industry. The takeaway is when compared to accident rates in other industries in the same time period, it totally fails to support your position in any way. It in fact undermines it.

        Then you go on to contradict yourself:

        “What this confirmed for me was that it is possible for humans to do the right thing by the planet and the sentient creatures we share it with.”

        “…..nature is reclaiming those places because humans are not there to foul the environment further. The ecosystems, flora and fauna, will recover without us and in spite of us.”

        Either humans can do the right thing ALL THE TIME or they can’t. Which is it Kathy? That’s what’s required, because the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown is a completely different deal than ice falling from a wind turbine blade.

        Regarding insurance:
        “Power reactor licensees are required by the act to obtain the maximum amount of insurance against nuclear related incidents which is available in the insurance market (as of 2011, $375 million per plant).”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price–Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act

        “In the United States, the Price-Anderson Act has governed the insurance of the nuclear power industry since 1957. …… This results in a maximum coverage amount of $11.975 billion. If 15 percent of these funds are expended, prioritization of the remaining amount would be left to a federal district court. If the second tier is depleted, Congress is committed to determine whether additional disaster relief is required.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_nuclear_power_plants#Insurance

        For the Fukushima nuclear disaster:
        “Estimates of the total economic loss range from $250[iv]-$500[v] billion US.”
        http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/responses/costs-and-consequences-of-fukushima.html

        Therefore the taxpayers are on the hook for 238 to 488 BILLION dollars if damages are to be repaired. Insurance is just one of the many HUGE subsidies provided to the nuclear industry.

        For current, accurate information on the nuclear industry, please spend some time on Arnie Gundersen’s website.
        http://fairewinds.org/

        Concerning insurance for Fukushima;
        According to reinsurer Munich Re, the private insurance industry will not be significantly affected by the disaster.[218] Swiss Re similarly stated, “Coverage for nuclear facilities in Japan excludes earthquake shock, fire following earthquake and tsunami, for both physical damage and liability. Swiss Re believes that the incident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is unlikely to result in a significant direct loss for the property & casualty insurance industry.”[219]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster#Insurance

        Concernining insurance from the arrticle YOU CITED:
        “Apart from Three Mile Island, the claim experience has been very good. Chernobyl was not insured.” IN otherwords, when there’s a meltdown, all bets are off.

        Sometimes people read the links. When you add them, try to understand them so you know if they support your position.

        I’m generally an optimist. But human nature is unlikely to change much in the next couple of centuries

        • Richard Ratico :

          My apologies for the typos. It’s getting late.

          • John Greenberg :

            Richard,

            I don’t know you, but I wanted to thank you for your good work. It is much appreciated.

          • Richard Ratico :

            John,
            Thanks! You do MUCH more than I do.

Comments

*

Comment policy Privacy policy
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Massachusetts company proposes Plattsburgh-Burlington electricity tra..."