- The U.S. Department of Energy approved the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the $1.2 billion New England Clean Power Link, a high voltage direct current transmission line with a 1,000 MW carrying capacity running from the Canadian province of Quebec to Ludlow, Vt, RTO Insider reports.
- The merchant line, which would run 98 miles beneath Lake Champlain and remain underground for almost all of the rest of its route, is being developed by Transmission Developers Inc. New England (TD-NE), a unit of The Blackstone Group.
- The final EIS recommended approval of a presidential permit since the line crosses the international border, with the transmission line expected to be up and running by 2019.
Increasing access to Canadian wind energy and hydro-electric power is the driving force behind this transmission line. The line is expected to offer increased access to Canadian wind energy and hydro-electric generation for the more densely populated New England states south of Vermont with ambitious renewables mandates, like Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The final EIS for the New England Clean Power Link includes new technical information, information from the Army Corp of Engineers assessment, an updated construction timeline, and new details from the Environmental Protection Agency on impacts on the water resource, the long-eared bat, and the Lake Champlain wetlands impacts.
As of October 2015, merchants interested in contracting for transmission capacity on the line were invited to submit Expressions of Interest to TD-NE. The open solicitation period will run through Dec. 4.
During the project’s expected 40-year life, it is expected to provide $274 Million in Vermont property taxes, $41 million in Vermont corporate income taxes, $31 million in Vermont sales taxes, and $212 million in lease payments to Vermont land owners.
All major federal and state permit approvals are expected by the end of 2015.