Vermont regulators approve new line to bring Canadian renewables to New England
- Vermont’s Public Service Board approved siting under Lake Champlain for the 150 mile long New England Clean Power Link, a transmission line to deliver up to 1,000 MW of hydro- and wind-generated electricity from the U.S.-Canadian border to Vermont.
- The $1.2 billion high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) Clean Power Link line, to be built by merchant developer TDI New England, will connect with Hydro-Québec’s hydro and wind resources to New England electricity markets and could eventually interconnect Ontario with New York.
- TDI has seven Canadian and New England electricity suppliers, representing 3,200 MW of capacity, who would use the line to help New England states meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets and help replace the over 8,000 MW of the regional grid’s capacity potentially scheduled to retire by 2020.
Clean Power Link construction will begin in 2016 and the line should be in service by 2019. By then, ISO-New England estimates it could need up to 6,300 MW of new capacity and the new hydro and wind from the Clean Power Link to diversify will help diversify its natural gas-dominated fuel mix.
The Clean Power Link and ISO-NE’s new capacity need will combine to create an opening for what First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor described to Utility Dive as a new kind of 24/7 renewables offering. “Instead of a 20-year PPA [power purchase agreement] for wind only or solar only, what the utility should really want is an around the clock solution.”
Utilities like Connecticut Power & Light and National Grid in Massachusetts and Rhode Island could use this "clean firm" product to meet their renewables mandates reliably. “The utility sees one product, 1,000 megawatts of clean energy per hour,” Gaynor said. “One hour it could be from 1,000 megawatts of wind. The next hour it could be half hydro and half wind.”