NEW YORK: Renewables Coming to NYC via New Buried Power Lines

ALBANY, New York, September 21, 2021 (ENS) – To mark Climate Week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul Monday announced two major green energy infrastructure projects to power New York City with wind, solar and hydropower projects from upstate New York and Canada.

If approved, these infrastructure projects will create some 10,000 family-sustaining jobs statewide and bring $8.2 billion in economic development investments, including developer-committed investment to support disadvantaged communities, accelerating the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

This announcement is expected to reduce New York City’s reliance on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions and improve air quality and public health in disadvantaged communities.

At the same time it will accelerate progress to exceed New York’s goal for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid as outlined in the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“New York’s communities are repeatedly facing serious consequences as a result of the devastation caused by the global climate crisis, and the stakes have never been higher as we deal with the economic and environmental destruction these extreme weather events leave behind,” Governor Hochul said.

“These transformative projects are a win-win, delivering thousands of new good-paying jobs throughout the state and attracting billions of dollars in private investment,” she said. “They also help us turn the page on New York City’s long-standing dependence on fossil fuels and will ensure millions of New Yorkers, especially those living in our most vulnerable communities, can have the promise of cleaner air and a healthier future.”

Today’s announcement is bolstered by New York City’s confirmation they will join in these landmark awards. This makes the scale of these awards possible while creating the opportunity for billions of dollars in savings for customers in New York City and statewide.

“This is a transformative moment for New York City’s fight against climate change,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made a commitment to power New York City government operations with 100 percent clean and renewable electricity by 2025.

“Two new transmission lines connecting New York City to electricity from water, the wind, and solar will create thousands of good union jobs, improve the resilience and reliability of our power supply, and dramatically reduce our reliance on oil and gas electricity that dirties the air in our neighborhoods and endangers our planet,” the mayor said.

One of the awarded projects is Clean Path NY, CPNY. This $11 billion infrastructure project combines a 1,300-megawatt, 174-mile underground high-voltage direct current transmission line with over 3,400 megawatts of new wind and solar projects in upstate New York, with availability and reliability maximized by the existing Blenheim-Gilboa pumped storage facility.

Clean Path NY will enable the delivery of more than 7.5 million megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy into New York City every year, all generated in New York State.

The project is expected to meet New York State’s ambitious climate goals, create 8,300 jobs and save New York State ratepayers millions in energy costs in its first 25 years of operation. The New York Power Authority and Forward Power – a joint venture between energyRe, LLC and Invenergy, LLC – are partners on the project.

Clean Path New York plans to develop a $270 million investment fund to support workforce development and education programs, health services and efficiency and electrification retrofits.

The other awarded project is the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) project, developed by Transmission Developers, Inc., backed by Blackstone and Hydro-Québec, the largest renewable energy producer in North America.

The CHPE project involves the construction of an underground and underwater transmission line spanning 339 miles between the Canada–U.S. border and New York City.

This innovative buried infrastructure project has been endorsed by labor unions, business organizations, elected officials, municipalities, environmental organizations, and academics.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, an Indigenous community located south of Montreal, will share ownership of the transmission line with Hydro-Quebec within the province of Quebec, which will connect to the CHPE. This will secure economic benefits for the Mohawk community over a 40-year period.

The 1,250-megawatt influx of clean power from the CHPE, enough to supply over a million homes, will start displacing fossil generation in the New York City region as soon as 2025. Today the region is over 85 percent reliant on fossil fuel-based electricity.

“New York is taking a bold step towards decarbonization,” said Hydro-Québec President and CEO Sophie Brochu. “By selecting the CHPE transmission line project, the State will be reducing carbon emissions as soon as 2025 and building the long-term backbone infrastructure needed to support local renewable energy, all the while making sure that local communities receive direct benefits.”

Combined the two projects are expected to:

  • – Produce approximately 18 million megawatt-hours of upstate and Canadian renewable energy per year, enough to power more than 2.5 million homes;
  • – Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 77 million metric tons over the next 15 years, the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road; and
  • – Provide $2.9 billion in public health benefits over 15 years that will result from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants – fewer episodes of illness and premature death, fewer days of school or work missed, less disruption of business, and lower health care costs.

The awarded contracts will include prevailing wage provisions for all laborers, workers, and mechanics performing construction activities on these construction projects.

The project developers will be required to negotiate labor agreements among their construction contractors and a building and construction trade labor organization representing craft workers for the construction of the new transmission lines as well as for the construction of the new renewable energy generation resources that the developers and its affiliates build for this project in New York State.

CPNY and CHPE will invest $460 million in community benefit funds to create pathways to green energy jobs, support public health, advance capital improvement projects, realize habitat restoration and improve the environmental footprint of buildings in disadvantaged communities.

Featured image: Then Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul cuts the ribbon at the Generate Capital Community Solar Project in Bethel, New York, alongside state and local officials. July 13, 2021 (Photo by Philip Kamrass/New York Power Authority, courtesy of then NY Governor Andrew Cuomo)

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