TDI New England has filed a state permit application seeking approval of its proposed New England Clean Power Link project. The application states that the project, once completed, will provide $136 million in ratepayer relief for Vermonters as part of a total public benefits package of $298 million. Over the 40-year life of the project, TDI estimates the project will create approximately $1.5 billion total economic benefits to the State and its residents.
The application [referred to as a “Section 248”application] was filed with the State of Vermont Public Service Board and seeks permission to construct and operate the proposed 1,000 MW New England Clean Power Link electric transmission project. The Public Service Board will now begin a thorough review of the project, and if the application is approved will issue a Certificate of Public Good, which will detail the terms and conditions under which the project may be constructed and operated.
The New England Clean Power Link is a proposed 154-mi underwater and underground transmission line that would deliver 1,000 MW of clean, lower-cost, hydroelectricity to the Vermont and New England market. The line is being developed with private sector financing by TDI New England and would originate at the U.S. – Canadian border and travel approximately 97.3 mi underwater down Lake Champlain to Benson, Vermont and then be buried along town and state road and railroad rights-of-way or on land owned by TDINew England for approximately 56.7 mi to a new converter station that would be built in Ludlow, Vermont. The project is expected to be in service in 2019, at a cost of approximately $1.2 billion.
TDI New England Chief Executive Officer Donald Jessome said, “We are extremely pleased to file this application today. We have been working hard to develop the New England Clean Power Link as an innovative, buried, environmentally sensitive alternative to above ground power lines. Through the use of existing rights of way, we can deliver clean, lower-cost power to Vermont and New England and we are excited to now detail, for the first time, four new, multi-million dollar benefit funds designed to help Lake Champlain, foster clean in-state energy development, and provide relief to Vermont electricity ratepayers.”
Jessome continued, “The funds devoted to public purposes, along with the project’s other economic and environmental benefits, make the Clean Power Link a positive project for people of Vermont and New England. We look forward to having the Public Service Board give our application a thorough, independent evaluation.”
The expansive filing contains hundreds of pages of facts, testimony, and exhibits that describe the project, explains its impacts, and illustrates its benefits to the people of Vermont and New England. The filing reflects and incorporates information received from the extensive public outreach that TDI New England has conducted over the last year. The Public Service Board will review the filing and provide opportunities for the public to offer comment on the proposed 154-mi project.
The four new benefit funds included in the Section 248 application are designed to benefit retail ratepayers and to address existing environmental issues. The funds proposed are as follows:
• A $136 million reduction in transmission costs paid byVermont electric ratepayers, funded though payments to Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) at an initial rate of $2.5 million a year escalating at 1.5% for the 40-year life of the project
• An $82 million Lake Champlain Phosphorous Clean Up Fund, paid at a rate of $2 million annually after two initial $1 million payments
• A $40 million fund to support habitat restoration and recreational improvements in Lake Champlain, paid at a rate of $1 million a year for the 40-year life of the project
• A contribution of $40 million to Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund, paid at a rate of $1 million annually for the 40-year life of the project
In addition to the new funds, the Section 248 application details numerous other benefits that the New England Clean Power Link will deliver to the people of Vermont and New England. These include: millions of dollars in new state property and sales tax revenue; hundreds of new construction jobs; lower electricity costs; an increase in the region’s gross domestic product; and a reduction of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year to help the region meet its aggressive climate change goals. All of these benefits are spelled out in detail in in the application, which is available on the New England Clean Power Link web site: necplink.com/regulatory-documents.php
As part of the Section 248 application process, TDI New England sent more than 700 letters to landowners who own property adjacent to the proposed project route informing them of this filing. This outreach is in addition to the extensive work TDI New England continues to do to keep the public informed and up to date on the proposal.
To date, TDI New England has sponsored numerous community open house meetings in Vermont, held a Lake Champlain Symposium to discuss how the project impacts to Lake Champlain, participated in Federal scoping hearings on the project, and spent months conducting outreach to local officials, stakeholder groups and landowners.
Earlier this year, TDI New England filed applications with the U.S. Department of Energy seeking a Presidential Permit and with the U.S. Corps of Engineers seeking Clean Water Act Section 404 and Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 permits.