U.S. EIS advances transmission to deliver Quebec hydropower to New York

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a final environmental impact statement endorsing the construction and operation of a 1,000-MW transmission line to carry Quebec hydroelectric power to customers in New York City.

The proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line would carry hydropower and some wind power from Canada’s Quebec Province, across the border at Champlain, N.Y., to Astoria, Queens, New York. The Energy Department EIS only addresses the 336-mile transmission line’s route in the U.S., while Quebec and Canadian agencies are reviewing environmental effects in that country.

The New York Public Service Commission approved the proposal in April. Supporters say the plan will bring clean, cheaper hydropower to the region, reducing reliance on coal and other generating technologies, and reducing electricity prices and greenhouse gases. Critics say importing power from Canada would reduce local power sales and jobs in the area.

The $2 billion project — owned by Champlain Hudson Power Express Inc. and CHPA Properties Inc. — involves the construction and operation of the Champlain Hudson Power Express, which would consist of two wires stretched mostly underwater beneath Lake Champlain and the Hudson, Harlem and East rivers.

“DOE’s Proposed Action (Preferred Alternative) is the issuance of a Presidential permit that would authorize the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed CHPE project that would cross the U.S./Canada border,” the environmental impact statement said.

The matter now goes to Energy Department officials. If they should approve the project, the EIS also is intended to help them determine possible mitigation measures and other conditions of the permit.

The EIS may be obtained from the Energy Department’s Internet site under http://www.chpexpresseis.org/index.php.

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