DOE approves US-Canada transmission project

The US Dept of Energy has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Champlain Hudson Power Express project, being developed by a Blackstone portfolio company.

The environmental impact review for a transmission line running from the US-Canada border to New York City has been completed, opening the way for final permitting, the project’s developer Transmission Developers said in a statement.

Transmission Developers, a portfolio company of private equity firm Blackstone, has been developing the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) since 2008. CHPE is a 333-mile high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will be installed underground and underwater running the length of Lake Champlain and parts of the Hudson River.

“We are extremely pleased that, after years of comprehensive review, the Department of Energy [DOE] has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement and concluded that the project can and should move forward,” Transmission Developers' chief executive Donald Jessome said.

According to the statement, DOE's proposed action is the issuance of a Presidential permit that will authorise the construction, operation and maintenance of CHPE.

The $2.2 billion project, which will run from Quebec to New York City, will carry 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power, helping New York meet its clean energy goals and representing one of the biggest investments in New York state history, according to the CHPE website.

The review began in the spring of 2010 with the cooperation of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Public Service. The DOE also consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

A spokesperson for Transmission Developers told Infrastructure Investor the permitting process is expected to be completed by the end of this year with construction expected to begin in 2015. Completion of the project is expected to take four years with an average of 300 construction jobs being created during that period.

Headquartered in Albany, New York, Transmission Developers also has offices in New York City. While it is a Blackstone portfolio company, asset management firm BlackRock is also an investor in the company.