Power Line Proposal Advances

Cross section of the type of cable proposed for the bottom of Lake Champlain. Image via Wikipedia.

On December 27, two New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) administrative law judges gave preliminary approval to a proposed project to lay a high voltage cable on the bottom of Lake Champlain in order to deliver electricity from hydro-generation facilities in Quebec to the New York City area. The line would enter the northern portion of the lake, continue underwater to about Dresden, NY and then exit the lake and proceed overland along existing rights of way. By exiting the lake in Dresden the route avoids impacting sensitive wetlands in the South Lake area as requested by LCC. The ruling comes two and a half years after the initial filing and follows a series of public and private meetings between developers and interested parties. Those meetings led to a Joint Proposal which resolved many issues and provides for the establishment and funding of a habitat enhancement, restoration, and improvement trust to mitigate any impacts the project might have, a measure LCC called for. The trust will provide $117 million over 35 years to projects along the entire length of the transmission corridor. The project is anticipated to cost $2.2 billion by the time it is completed. The project still needs approval form the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These permits are expected sometime in 2013.