MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A New York company announced Thursday it hopes to build a 150-mile power line from the Canadian border under Lake Champlain and then across Vermont to the town of Ludlow where it would connect to the New England electric grid.
The $1.2 billion New England Clean Power Link line could carry up to 1,000 megawatts of Canadian hydro-electricity, enough to supply about 1 million homes, said Donald Jessome, president of TDI New England.
TDI New England is a subsidiary of the New York based Blackstone Group, which would provide funding for the project. Jessome said he expected it would take five years to complete the regulatory process and construction. They hope to begin transmitting power in 2019.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said he knew of the proposal and had met with its backers, but he seemed to question whether it would be needed.
"I think it's important to recognize that power transmission is going through an interesting time right now," Shumlin said. "Clearly, there's a huge demand for clean, green renewables, which hydro is, to our south. At the same time, there are technologies being developed that might make us question how much transmission we're going to need in the future."
Promoters of the Clean Power Link project say it would help provide clean energy to New England and help Canadian power producers find a market for an abundance of hydropower produced in Quebec and other parts of Canada.
"They along with our team see the need for connecting renewable energy to markets that are both growing and have a very, very strong need for new renewable resources coming into the marketplace," Jessome said, referring to the investors. "We very much like the buried model because it preserves the natural beauty of the communities we're going through."
The Vermont proposal is similar to a proposal in New York state for a 330-mile power line from Canada to New York City that would also run under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. Jessome said the New York project is being done by a different company, but the same people who are now working on the Vermont proposal.
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