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Two transmission projects for 2.6 GW of clean power into New York City selected

Highlights

1,250-MW Champlain Hudson Power Express

1,300-MW Clean Path NY

Projects chosen will get Tier 4 RECs

New York Governor Kathy Hochul Sept. 20 said two large transmission projects had been selected to transport wind, solar and hydropower from northern New York and Canada into New York City to cut emissions and help the state reach 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

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"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," Hochul said in a statement.

"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."

The project proposals were submitted in response to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's solicitation under the Tier 4 renewable energy credit program.

NYSERDA received bids from seven proposers for seven projects with 35 alternative configurations that represent a total of over 35 million MWh/year of renewable energy and nearly 7,500 MW of new renewable transmission capacity.

"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," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the statement.

The city has a goal to power all New York City government operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

Project details

The 1,250-MW Champlain Hudson Power Express project has been under development for many years and would involve building a high-voltage direct current line from the Canadian border into the city that would primarily run under the Hudson River and existing rail lines.

CHPE is being developed by Transmission Developers, which is backed by private equity firm Blackstone.

The project would be supplied with hydropower from Hydro-Québec's reservoir system. However, large-scale hydropower did not qualify to receive RECs before the state created the Tier 4 system.

"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," Sophie Brochu, Hydro-Québec's president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Clean Path project combines a 1,300-MW, 174-mile underground HVDC transmission line with over 3,400 MW of new wind and solar projects in upstate New York, with availability and reliability maximized by the existing Blenheim-Gilboa pumped hydro storage facility, according to a statement.

The project is a partnership of the state-owned New York Power Authority, and private companies Invenergy and energyRe.

Beyond hydropower, Tier 4 is open to solar thermal, photovoltaics, onshore wind, geothermal electric, geothermal ground source heat, tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal, and fuel cells that do not utilize a fossil fuel resource in electricity generation.

In total, the two transmission lines will transport approximately 18 million MWh/yr of upstate and Canadian renewable energy, according to NYSERDA.

Disappointment over CHPE selection

However, merchant power generators in New York were disappointed with the selection of the CHPE project, which they said crowds out in-state renewable energy projects that could have supplied the capacity.

"Robust private sector response to NYSERDA's solicitation shows there are developers and generators ready to continue their investments in our state -- Clean Path New York is a great example of that investment," Gavin Donohue, president and CEO of trade group Independent Power Producers of New York, said in a statement.

"However, approving the Champlain Hudson Power Express without an upstate converter station that would allow New York's own generators to connect to the line is a mistake," he said.

Timed to coincide with the weeklong event series Climate Week NYC, Hochul also said the state is looking to expand its NY-Sun program from 6 GW of solar power capacity by 2025 to 10 GW of capacity by 2030.

The state is 95% of the way to installing the 6 GW of solar by 2025, according to a statement.

New York has enacted legislation that mandates a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable power generation by 2030, and an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.