Developer of power line under Lake Champlain applies for federal permit

The company proposing to bury a transmission line under Lake Champlain to bring renewable power from Canada to the New England power market filed for a Department of Energy permit Tuesday.

TDI New England announced last year it plans to build a 154-mile, $1.2 billion underground transmission line to import up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable Canadian power into the grid.

Clean Link MapThe project, called Clean Power Link, would pass a line beneath Lake Champlain and connect with a converter station in Ludlow.

“Filing this application marks an important step forward in the development of the New England Clean Power Link,” said TDI New England CEO Donald Jessome in a statement.

The company does not plan to sell power directly to Vermont, but it estimates $100 million over 10 years in electricity savings for power sent to the region’s grid.

“And that’s simply low cost renewable energy coming into the marketplace,” Jessome said in an interview. “(And) it’s a significant benefit particularly in the fight on climate change in lowering CO2.”

The company said the project will lower state property taxes. It is also planning to set up a so-called benefits fund that could be used to help support the Lake Champlain cleanup.

The company said it will meet with state agencies, communities, environmental groups, NGOs and other stakeholders to best decide how the fund should be used.

The company was to meet with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission and Rutland Selectboard on Tuesday to present details on the project.

This is not the only proposed transmission project to pass through Vermont in order to serve southern renewable energy markets seeking to meet new renewable energy standards and power supply demands.

A Massachusetts developer, Anbaric Transmission, is proposing a 40-mile transmission line to carry wind power from upstate New York to a substation in Burlington. The project needs state and federal approval. The company is reacting to a six-state strategy to bring renewable power into the New England electric grid by offering a ratepayer-backed return on investment.

TDI New England said it will apply for state regulatory approval later this year. It will also file an application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this year.

The presidential permit TDI New England applied for Tuesday is issued by the Department of Energy and is required for projects that cross territorial borders.

TDI New England is a subsidiary of the $272 billion New York-based investment firm Blackstone. It has said it will not seek ratepayer support for the project.

The company’s leadership is also developing the Champlain Hudson Power Express in New York.

John Herrick

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  • “TDI New England announced last year it plans to build a 154-mile, $1.2 billion underground transmission line to import up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable Canadian power into the grid.

    A great way to get inexpensive, renewable, steady, high quality, near-zero-CO2 emission, hydro energy from Canada into New England.

    The project, called Clean Power Link, would pass a line beneath Lake Champlain and connect with a DC to AC converter station in Ludlow.”

    Many such under-water and under-ground HVDC lines already exist in Europe.

    New England Example:

    Northern Pass, an HVDC, north-south transmission system is planned from Franklin, NH, to Deerfield, NH; 187 miles; capacity 1,200 MW; capital cost $1.4 billion; 1400/187 = $7.49 million/mile, or 1400/1200 = $1.17 million/MW.

    HVDC energy from hydro plants in sparsely-populated Quebec, New Brunswick and Labrador is fed into the system at the Canada-NH border and transmitted to southern NH, where it is fed, after conversion, into existing HVAC systems; any modifications required to the HVAC systems are not included in the cost estimate.
    http://www.northernpass.us/project-overview.htm

    The Netherlands-Norway Example:

    There exists a 580 km-long (363 miles), underwater, HVDC line from the northern tip of Holland to the southern tip of Norway; capacity, 700 MW; voltage, 900,000 V; cable resistance at 50 degrees C, 29 ohm; cable losses at rated load, 2.5%; capital cost, 600 million euro ($780 million); in service 6 May 2008; 780/363 = $2.15 million/mile, or 780/700 = $1.11 million/MW; a second line is planned.

    NOTE: Comparing the above New England Example and the Netherlands-Norway Example, the onshore HVDC cost/mile is about 3.4 times the offshore cost/mile.

    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/310631/more-realistic-cost-wind-energy

  • This is an addition to the above comment.

    Note the capital cost per MW for the above three projects.

    It is about the same for all three projects, which is to be expected.

    $1.2 million/MW, proposed
    $1.17 million/MW, proposed
    $1.11 million/MW, existing

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