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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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