- The project will deliver hydro power down from Canada along 340 miles of transmission cable.
- Thousands of good jobs touted for project
- Riverkeeper criticizes Champlain Hudson project as hurtful to indigenous communities
The state on Monday awarded contracts to two companies with plans to deliver solar, wind and hydro power from upstate and Canada to New York City, along routes that call for transmission cables along the bottom of the Hudson River.
The winning projects – the Champlain Hudson Power Express and Clean Path New York – were among seven vying for the opportunity to deliver green energy to New York City as part of the state’s effort reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels.
The contracts will need the backing of the state Public Service Commission before permits are granted.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said the projects will play a critical role in helping the state achieve its ambitious green energy goals in the next decade and beyond. The state wants 70 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources of power by 2030.
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And key to that is reducing New York City’s long reliance on fossil fuel as its primary source of energy. The downstate region relies on fossil fuels for 80 percent of its energy. Upstate,
“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,” 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.
“They also help us turn the page on New York City’s long-standing dependence on fossil fuels,” she added. “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.”
The $2.2 billion Champlain Hudson project will deliver hydro power down from Canada along 340 miles of transmission cable. Some 200 miles will run underwater and another 140 on land, most of that in upstate New York.
The 174-mile Clean Path project will begin at a substation in Delaware County and run south to the Rainey substation in the Astoria section of Queens, according to its proposal. Transmission cable will run along existing rights-of-way upstate before entering the Hudson at an industrial site in the town of New Windsor.
Cable would then course 16 miles underwater before coming back on land in Buchanan. From there, underground cable buried along rights-of-way would run south to Ossining where they would re-enter the river for the 20-mile run to Queens.
“This is a transformative moment for New York City’s fight against climate change,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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 environmental group, Riverkeeper, singled out the Champlain Hudson project for criticism, saying the governor chose “the most environmentally damaging and unjust project among the seven.”
Riverkeeper is concerned that dams used in Canada to create hydropower will have a harmful impact on indigenous communities there.
“The project would incentivize more unsustainable hydroelectric power that harms indigenous communities in Canada, send New York’s energy dollars out of our country, and turn hundreds of miles of the Hudson River and Lake Champlain into a construction site,” said Dan Shapley, the interim Hudson Riverkeeper. “It’s a shameful use of public money to subsidize this project over viable competitors.”
Champlain Hudson’s developer, Hydro-Quebec, said it is working closely with indigenous populations in Canada to address their concerns and has altered its Hudson River route to limit the impact on fish habitats.
Both projects have the support of The Nature Conservancy, which said they will protect natural resources while helping the state fight the effects of climate change.
The projects will produce 18 million megawatts of upstate and Canadian energy per year, enough to power 2.5 million homes, according to state officials.