Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is Vermont A More Lucrative Power Market Than Connecticut?

One might draw that conclusion from the latest proposal to come from Transmission Developers Inc.

The Toronto-based company unveiled a $1.2 billion plan Wednesday that would extend electric transmission lines from Quebec under Lake Champlain and halfway across the state to the town of Ludlow. The lines would be used to bring 1,000 megawatts of hydro-electric power into New England's power pool.

If TDI's plan sound familiar, it's because the company proposed another line under Lake Champlain that would be used to bring hydro-electric power to both New York City and Connecticut with a project that it dubbed the Champlain Hudson Power Express. But the company abandoned its plans to extend that line under Long Island Sound to Bridgeport in the summer of 2010, saying New York City's electric market was more lucrative than that of Connecticut.

Terri Hallenbeck of the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reports that the Champlain Hudson Power Express, which also includes plans for burying the transmission line beneath New York's Hudson River, has won a certificate of public need from that state’s Public Service Commission and is awaiting federal permits. Permitting is running about two years behind TDI’s original schedule, according to Hallenbeck.

TDI's latest project is expected to be completed in 2019, Hallenback reports.

A lot can change in three years in the energy industry, so maybe a fair comparison can't be made between TDI's project from two years ago and the one now being proposed in Vermont. But clearly these two projects - and Northeast Utilities' Northern Pass project in New Hampshire - are evidence that energy and power transmission companies are willing to spent large sums of money with the hope of raking in even more cash over the long haul if the projects are approved.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

We Return You To Regularly Scheduled Programming....

Having overcome some lengthy technical difficulties, I'd like to welcome you back to the blog.

Couldn't have picked a better day to dive back into posting as a lot of things are happening in the world of energy.

Topping the list, Connecticut Light & Power later this morning will announce improvements it has made to storm restoration technology.

The company has been talking for months about how it is upgrading the information available to customers via the outage map on its web site. I'm sure that what CL&P will announce is more nuanced than that particular improvement alone, but check back here for more detailed information.

Connecticut officials are in California today, participating in ceremony marking the signing of a memorandum of understanding between eight states to jointly promote an increase in the number of electric and hydrogen power vehicles on the road. The goal is to have 3.3 million of the two types of vehicles on the road by 2025.

Of course, in announcing the event, nobody bothered to mention how many of the vehicles are now on the road. But, hey, that what I'm here for to ask those questions on your behalf, so stay tuned.

This afternoon, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Fitch and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty.

Fitch has been trying to refashion Bridgeport as a renewable energy center, an effort he started in 2009 to create jobs and save taxpayers money. While it remains to be seen how successful that effort is, it won't be from a lack of effort.

Both Esty and Gov. Dannel Malloy were in the Park City this spring for a ceremonial ground breaking on what was billed at the largest fuel cell park in North America. The project involves to big player's in Connecticut's energy market: Danbury-based FuelCell Energy, which builds the generation units and Dominion Resources, the Virginia-based company that owns and operates the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford.

Speaking of Dominion, the company announced Wednesday it has increased its energy holdings in the Connecticut, acquiring a solar project in Somers from Japanese electronics giant Kyocera for an undisclosed amount of money. Kyocera has been jointly developing the 5 megawatt project, which is supposed to begin operating by the end of the year, with CleanPath, a San Francisco-based company.

"Dominion looks forward to supplying solar energy to the people of Connecticut, where we already provide carbon-free nuclear energy from our Millstone Power Station," David Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation said in a statement.

The so-called Somers Solar Center is being built 90 leased acres, about 4 miles south of Connecticut's border with Massachusetts. Dominion has acquired two other large scale solar project since the beginning of the year, one near Augusta, Georgia and the outside of Indianapolis, Ind.

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