- ITC Holdings has begun offering transmission rights to power producers for the 1,000 MW of capacity on its proposed 73 mile high voltage direct current (HVDC) Lake Erie Connector project that will traverse the Great Lake’s seabed to connect Canadian and U.S. electricity markets.
- If the company obtains adequate financial commitments and the required state, federal and provincial permits, it could start construction in 2017 and begin commercial operation in 2019, linking Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the PJM Interconnection, adding reliability and resource diversity to both systems.
- The line is expected to cost at least $1 billion but will, according to ITC Holdings, be the first direct connection between Canada’s abundant hydroelectric, wind and other resources and the 60 million PJM customers which are spread across a 13 state Mid-Atlantic service territory from Illinois to Maryland and Pennsylvania to Virginia.
Between Canadian IPPs in Ontario and beyond and LSEs in the PJM market, there are potentially dozens of counter-parties, ITC Holdings recently told Utility Dive. The economics already strongly support flowing power from north to south. And margins are expected to be even better by the time the line is in service because higher state renewables mandates and the EPA Clean Power Plan will grow demand.
This is the kind of opportunity that will make First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor’s vision of a new kind of renewables offering possible. He has already been talking to utilities in the northeast, including Connecticut Power & Light and National Grid in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, about a "clean firm" product. “It merges Canadian hydro resources, either from Newfoundland-Labrador or Quebec-Ontario, and New England wind into one transmission asset delivered to urban centers,” Gaynor explained. “That brings the delivered cost of energy way down. That’s where the magic happens.”