Proposed Quebec-NYC power line would cut through region

A Canadian company is in preliminary discussions with state regulatory officials about running a new

A Canadian company is in preliminary discussions with state regulatory officials about running a new high-voltage power line from Quebec to New York City that would be primarily underwater or buried.

The proposal by Transmission Developers Inc. of Toronto is for a 300-mile, 2,000-megawatt line that would run under Lake Champlain, pass underground through the Capital Region and then run under the Hudson River to New York City.

Transmission Developers lists as “strategic advisor” the Pataki-Cahill Group of New York City, which includes former governor George Pataki and former state environmental conservation commissioner John Cahill.

Transmission Developers Inc. has had discussions involving the state Public Service Commission, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency, but no applications have been filed.

“Everything is very preliminary at this point,” said Maureen Wren, a spokeswoman for state DEC.

The line would provide about enough electrical power to supply 500,000 homes.

Any large-scale power transmission project would need approval from the state Public Service Commission under its Article VII review process.

“There have been preapplication discussions, but there has been no application,” said Anne Dalton, a spokeswoman for the Public Service Commission.

The APA has also been involved in discussions, though it isn’t yet clear if the APA has any jurisdiction, according to a report by APA Acting Deputy Director Holly Kneeshaw.

Transmission Developers Inc. describes itself on its Web site as a developer of long-distance direct current transmission lines. Canada generates a significant amount of power through Hydro-Quebec and other projects.

“I can confirm for you that we are working on it, and we will be making a full public announcement in the very near future,” said Andrew Rush, a spokesman for Transmission Developers.

The company says direct current can be transmitted long distances with less power loss than standard alternating current lines, and with almost no electromagnetic fields. It says the technology could address electrical supply issues “in an environmentally responsible manner with a minimal visual impact to communities.”

Direct current, in which the current flows in only one direction, would need to be converted into alternating current, in which the current reverses direction many times a second, before the power could be used. Electrical appliances in the United States operate on alternating current.

Transmission Developers currently has one project under active review, a plan to run a 1,000-megawatt line about 150 miles under the Atlantic Ocean from Wiscasett, Maine, to Boston harbor. The company says that project is still under environmental study, with hoped-for completion in early 2014.

Wren said the possible New York project would begin with overhead lines in Canada. The lines would then be buried in the Richelieu River and run underwater down the length of Lake Champlain to Whitehall, Washington County.

The line would then be buried in the Champlain Canal or in railroad rights of way in a 70-mile arch around the Capital Region, coming to the Hudson River at Coeymans in Albany County. From there, Wren said, the proposed line would travel under the Hudson into New York City and to a converter station in Bridgeport, Conn.

Dalton said the state Public Service Commission staff has previous experience with high-voltage direct current projects, including the Neptune project. Completed in 2007, that line runs 65 miles underwater from New Jersey to Long Island, supplying additional power to the Long Island Power Authority.

Categories: Schenectady County

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