State regulators OK’d a 330-mile transmission line from Quebec to New York City, clearing a major hurdle for the much-debated $2 billion project.
The Public Service Commission approved the project in its meeting. The 1,000-megawatt underground line — proposed by Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. and CHPE Properties — would bring Canadian hydropower from the border to a converter station in Queens.
“With this order, we grant the developer a certificate to construct and operate a transmission project known as the Champlain Hudson Power Express Project,” PSC Chairman Garry Brown said in a statement.
The transmission line will mostly run below Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, though the PSC said some parts will be built under railroads or near state highways. As part of the approval, the builders would be required to put up a $117 million trust to minimize the impact on fisheries and aquatic life.
The project had been opposed by some in the Legislature, including Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz, a Niagara County Republican who advocates for in-state power generation. Maziarz, who expressed concern about the line’s impact on jobs at New York power plants, introduced a bill that had sought to block the project’s construction.
The state approval doesn’t necessarily mean that the project is a go, however. The line will also have to be approved by federal regulators, and private financing still has to be secured.
It also comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman call for the closure of Indian Point Energy Center, a Westchester County nuclear power plant that supplies a large chunk of New York City’s power.