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National Grid pulls application for NY transmission line through Lake Champlain

National Grid USA pulled its application for its planned Vermont Green Line transmission project mostly underwater through Lake Champlain but intends to resume the project.

In a Nov. 21 letter to the New York Public Service Commission, National Grid subsidiary Vermont Green Line Devco LLC withdrew its application to construct and operate a major utility transmission facility under Article VII of the state Public Service Law for the proposed high-voltage, direct-current transmission line.

The 59-mile HVDC line sought to help states achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals by delivering renewable energy into the market overseen by ISO New England and would run from near Plattsburgh, N.Y., to New Haven, Vt., with approximately 40 miles buried underwater on the lakebed of Lake Champlain.

Vermont Green Line aimed to carry new wind generation in New York from Invenergy LLC, backed by Canadian hydropower produced by provincial government-owned Hydro-Québec, but the project's proposal was passed over in an October 2016 clean energy solicitation for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In its withdrawal request, the developer said it "hopes that it may be able to construct and operate the Project in the future [but] circumstances beyond its control require it to withdraw the petition at this point." Any future review by the commission of the transmission project would restart the Article VII process. (New York PSC Case 16-T-0260)

In an email, National Grid spokeswoman Jackie Barry said "stakeholder concerns" were identified during the permitting process "that cannot be resolved in a time frame that aligns with our planned permitting schedules."

"Our intent is to resume with project development but we need to wait and see how the outcome of the large-scale Massachusetts renewable energy procurement will impact the energy landscape," Barry said. Massachusetts' clean energy solicitation mandates that approximately 15% of the state's electricity needs for the next 20 years be met by 1,200 MW of hydroelectric power imports and new class I renewables, capped at 9.45 million MWh annually. The winning bids will be announced by Jan. 25, 2018.

In January, the U.S. arm of National Grid plc assumed primary ownership of the Vermont Green Line project from private developer Anbaric Transmission. Citizens Energy Corp., a Boston-based nonprofit, stayed on as a smaller, second partner and investor in the project.

Just a month after National Grid ended a solicitation for requests for capacity rights on the line for up to 20 years, the New York PSC in March deemed the project's application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to be complete. The line's then-anticipated in-service date was by the end of 2021.