TDI to pay $720M over 40 years to state for transmission cable under Lake Champlain

Developers of a planned 154-mile high-voltage transmission cable that would run beneath Lake Champlain agreed to pay the state $720 million over the project’s expected 40-year life, should it be approved by regulators.

The $1.2 billion, 1,000 megawatt transmission line, known as the New England Clean Power Link, would carry hydroelectric and wind power generated in Canada to metropolitan energy markets in the Northeast.

The state stipulated in the agreement that the developer, TDI New England, has provided the Public Service Board with the information necessary to approve the certificate of public good. TDI has reached similar agreements with three towns along the transmission line’s route.

The agreements announced Tuesday secure more than double the minimum $283.5 million contribution in a previous agreement between TDI and the Conservation Law Foundation, and builds off a previous agreement with Vermont Electric Power Co. (VELCO), the state’s transmission utility.

“We have always expressed our willingness to do our part to support projects that help meet the regional need for more clean and reliable power,” Chris Recchia, Department of Public Service commissioner, said in a statement.

Recchia added that if the project is approved and built, the agreement he and several other state agencies reached with TDI ensures Vermont would create significant benefits for ratepayers and other constituencies in the state.

The agreement with the state includes:

• $202 million paid to the state Clean Water Fund and dedicated to Lake Champlain watershed cleanup, paid at a rate of $5 million annually for the 40-year life of the project after two initial $1 million payments.

• $61 million paid to a newly created Lake Champlain Enhancement and Restoration Trust Fund to support habitat restoration and recreational improvements in the Lake Champlain watershed, paid at a rate of $1.5 million annually for the 40-year life of the project after an initial $1 million payment.

• $109 million paid to Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund for the 40-year life of the project to promote renewable generation in Vermont, paid at a rate of $5 million annually during the first 20 years of the life of the project, with the remainder paid out annually during the subsequent 20 years.

• $136 million in ratepayer benefits.

Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz called the agreement “terrific news” for the state’s Lake Champlain cleanup efforts. Clean water legislation passed this year will serve as a “down payment” on those efforts, and the money from the agreement will help bolster the efforts paid for by the fund, she said.

In addition, the agreement gives Vermont utilities the option of purchasing 200 megawatts of power should they want it in the future. The company has also made commitments to the towns of Alburgh, Benson and Ludlow, all located along the transmission line route.

TDI New England is a subsidiary of financial firm Blackstone Group, which manages more than $200 billion in assets. The firm anticipates permitting will take until mid-2016, with major construction beginning in 2018. If the New England Clean Energy Link moves forward, the 1,000-megawatt transmission line is anticipated to be carrying power by 2019.

The PSB is expected to schedule the dates and times for technical hearings on TDI’s application for a certificate of public good this fall.

The project will also need approval from federal regulators with the Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers. TDI will also need to secure environmental and construction permits from the state for the project should it obtain the certificate of public good from the PSB.

TDI New England CEO Donald Jessome issued the following statement in a news release with the announced agreements Tuesday:

“With these agreements, the New England Clean Power Link is one step closer to providing clean, lower-cost, renewable electricity for Vermont and New England.”

Morgan True

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19 Comments on "TDI to pay $720M over 40 years to state for transmission cable under Lake Champlain"

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Jim Barrett
1 year 1 day ago

Extortion by Vermont is the best word I can think of for this ripoff of the power company. The ratepayers (you and me) are the ones who will pay for this penalty, fine or whatever it is called. 800 million dollars that will go unaccounted for in the state government and we wonder why our rates don’t decrease?

Steve Trahan
1 year 1 day ago

I don’t see a downside to this. It is money from the sky to clean up Lake Champlain. Another underwater cable won’t hurt a thing.

Kim Fried
1 year 1 day ago

Good, let’s stop destroying Vermont’s ridgelines.

Maurice Morey
1 year 1 day ago
It is obvious that the rest of New England can see the need for low cost, on demand renewable energy from the Hydro Quebec source. WHY are we planning to pay foreign companies to destroy more miles of out of state owned ridge lines to generate intermittent energy at 4 to 5 times the cost? The Iberdrola backed Industrial Wind development on Meadowsend Styles Brook will generate approximately 30MW ( wind in VT rarely reaches 30% of rated output) that will have to be transmitted to a huge step up substation in Ludlow, exactly where the TDI line is connecting.… Read more »
Tom Sullivan
1 year 51 minutes ago

“It is time for us to stop selling our natural heritage to the highest bidder developers”

Sure, lets save our heritage to the detriment of the native americans heritage. 4,000 square miles of their land flooded, and intentionally ignored because some Vermonters want the impact of energy generation elsewhere.

Willem Post called this “spilled milk” in a comment a few weeks ago. Is it?

Let the damage control begin.

Tom Sullivan
1 year 50 minutes ago
Willem Post
11 months 28 days ago
Tom, The damage to the environment by flooding land to create a lake before the dam of a hydro plant has happened all over Vermont, the US and the world at least 1000 times, just as highways were built all over Vermont, the US and the world. All this is done to accommodate modern lifestyles. It is true, existing use patterns of the land have been changed and people had to be moved. In Norway, which gets 98% of its electrical energy from hydro plants, several hundred lakes were created. Some people had to move and received financial and other… Read more »
Tom Sullivan
11 months 28 days ago
Thanks for your response Willem, “The Canadians have been very generous to the Cree helping them move, but there are some Cree who want to “stick with the old ways” Suddenly Willem, you sound like a wind power advocate saying that some Vermonters want to cling to their “old ways” or dare I say heritage. Also, depending on your source regarding the treatment of the Cree, it seems more than clear that native americans aren’t being treated very well, very similarly to the Vermonters that you defend. If your going to defend Vermonters from industrial wind, you must defend native… Read more »
William Hays
1 year 1 day ago

Only 18% going to ‘ratepayer benefits’? It should be closer to 100%, methinks.

James Maroney
1 year 1 day ago
It does not matter — it literally does not matter — how much money TDI pays into Vermont’s Clean Water Fund, until and unless it stops subsidizing conventional dairy, which purchases and applies to the land the very substances, — NPK fertilizer and high phosphorus feed supplements — it wishes the taxpayers to believe it is trying to prevent from flowing into the nearest streams or river. The difficulty in a nutshell is that since water runs down hill, everything that the industrial dairy industry applies to the land goes with the rain down the hills into the lake and… Read more »
Willem Post
11 months 29 days ago
“In addition, the agreement gives Vermont utilities the option of purchasing 200 megawatts of power should they want it in the future. The company has also made commitments to the towns of Alburgh, Benson and Ludlow, all located along the transmission line route.” Vermont utilities have the OPTION to purchase 200 MW of power from the 1000 MW transmission line. That is 200 x 8760 x CF 0.90* = 1577 GWh/yr, or about 21.6% of Vermont’s 7300 GWh energy consumption in 2050, as projected by the Energy Action Network, January 2015 revision. EAN also projects continuation of existing contracts with… Read more »
John Greenberg
11 months 27 days ago
Willem: “Remember, all this energy will be renewable, near-CO2-free, reliable, steady (not variable, not intermittent), and low-cost; about 5 – 7 c/kWh, tied to WHOLESALE grid prices which have averaged about 5 c/kWh for the past 5 years.” Until new transmission lines are actually in place, substantial blocks of power are NOT available from HQ. As GMP’s Robert Dostis wrote in reply to my direct question about your repeated statements: “Getting new large-scale imports from HQ into New England, would require new transmission infrastructure at significant cost. This strongly suggests that new regional HQ imports would cost significantly more (including… Read more »
Willem Post
11 months 26 days ago
John, But a 1000 MW line, costing about $1+ billion WILL be in place, per Blackstone, which manages about $200 billion in assets, and Blackstone is OBLIGATED to provide 200 MW of that line’s capacity to Vermont utilities, and that energy will be: – Renewable – Near-CO2-free – Reliably available, unlike wind and solar, which are weather-dependent – Steady (not variable, not intermittent, like wind and solar) – Low-cost; about 5 – 7 c/kWh, tied to New England WHOLESALE grid prices which have averaged about 5 c/kWh for the past 5 years, due to an abundance of low-cost, nearby, DOMESTIC… Read more »
John Greenberg
11 months 25 days ago
Willem: IF the TDI line is eventually approved and constructed as planned, then there will be a line but so far, the project has not been approved and construction is obviously not complete. If the line is ever in place, Blackstone would be providing 200 MW of transmission capacity, at a price yet to be determined, not power. Blackstone cannot compel HQ to sell power to Vermont’s utilities, nor can it set the price of HQ power, which is the issue I addressed above and which you’ve chosen to ignore. (I am assuming that the article’s phrasing is sloppy when… Read more »
Willem post
11 months 24 days ago
John, You can rest assured, the line will be built if Blackstone is behind it. One of my cousins works at Blackstone in London, and they are known for seeing good opportunities. With all the goodies Vermont has been able to get, per the article, you can rest assured Vermont will expedite approvals, etc. The cost of transmitting energy is likely less than 1 c/kWh and has little material impact. You can look that up on the Internet. About all eggs in one basket, that is pure nonsense, as the RE jobs require enormous capital per MW to produce variable,… Read more »
John Greenberg
11 months 24 days ago
Willem: 1) Neither Vermont nor Blackstone will determine alone whether this project will be built. It needs federal approval by FERC, at a minimum, and possibly approval by other federal agencies as well, since it transcends international borders. It probably needs approval by provincial and/or federal Canadian authorities as well, but I’ve made no attempt to research the issue. Accurate analysis requires properly distinguishing between certainties, high probabilities, and acknowledged uncertainties. I’ve merely tried to make these distinctions within the broad generalizations you repeat in these comments columns. For what it’s worth, I too would guess that the project is… Read more »
Willem Post
11 months 23 days ago
John, “The cost of transmitting energy is likely less than 1 c/kWh”; a cost anywhere in the vicinity of 1c would be 14-20% of the 5-7c/kWh cost”. Yes, it would appear to be to lay people, but it is not. The alternative would be much more expensive in-state RE energy at a minimum of 10 c/kWh, with present incentives, higher with future reduced incentives. As I noted, the SPEED program incentives are still in place with RESET, meaning its RE costs are 20+ c/kWh and RISING, as DPS data shows. Installation of SPEED project MW/year is significantly increasing, meaning more… Read more »
John Greenberg
11 months 23 days ago

“Yes, it would appear to be to lay people, but it is not.
The alternative would be much more expensive in-state RE energy ….” Another non-sequitur.
The fact that some alternatives – and as I’ve already pointed out, in-state RE is NOT the only alternative – are more expensive doesn’t change the point I made: 1 cent is 14-20% of 5-7 cents. Since this is nothing more than arithmetic, even an expert like you should be able to acknowledge that.

Willem Post
11 months 23 days ago


“Yes, it would appear to be to lay people, but it is not.”

I did acknowledge it, but your specious arguments do not befuddle me, but they may befuddle lay people.

– My low-cost, high-quality RE alternative, i.e., more hydro from Canada, is much better for New England and Vermont than in-state generated EXPENSIVE, LOW-QUALITY RE energy, and

– Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, which much larger influence and populations than puny, poor Vermont, agree, and

– Blackstone is only too happy to oblige by building, owning and operating transmission facilities.

All is explained in this article:

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