Obama admin OKs linking Canadian hydro to New England

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Obama administration today granted a presidential permit for a proposed cross-border transmission line that will pump 1,000 megawatts of Canadian hydropower into energy-hungry New England.

The Department of Energy issued a permit for the construction and operation of the New England Clean Power Link.

Transmission Developers Inc. is pursuing the buried transmission line, which the company says has now obtained all needed permits from ISO New England, the regional grid operator.

The high-voltage direct current transmission line is slated to run from the Canadian border at Alburgh, Vt., to Ludlow, Vt., along underwater and underground routes. The underwater portion will be buried in the bed of Lake Champlain.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said the project, when constructed, will help the region reduce carbon emissions and benefit ratepayers.

Blackstone Senior Managing Director Sean Klimczak said the project would support a forthcoming Massachusetts clean energy solicitation for 1,200 MW of baseload hydropower and onshore wind.

DOE issued the permit after conferring with the departments of State and Defense, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard, and U.S. EPA.

The Vermont Public Service Board previously issued Section 248 and Section 231 permits for the project, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the corps issued nine other water quality permits, the company said.