TDI New England to enhance benefits of Clean Power Link transmission line

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TDI New England (TDI-NE) and the Conservation Law Foundation jointly filed with the Vermont Public Service Board an agreement between the two entities that enhances the environmental and public benefits proposed by TDI-NE for the $1.2 billion New England Clean Power Link.

In the June 12 filing, the entities agreed to a series of measures that address public good benefit funds, renewables integration, Lake Champlain funds and renewable energy attributes.

“This agreement will have significant impact towards reversing the legacy of pollution that has plagued one of New England’s iconic waterways, Lake Champlain, and also ensure a clean energy future for the communities of Vermont,” Christopher Kilian, vice president and director, CLF – Vermont, said in a June 16 statement to TransmissionHub. “With $285 million going towards phosphorous clean-up, the restoration and enhancement of Lake Champlain, and renewable energy development in the state, we will be able to address some of the biggest environmental challenges facing Vermont and New England today.”

TDI-NE last December filed an application with the PSB requesting permission to build the Clean Power Link – a 154-mile, +/- 300-kV to 320-kV HVDC merchant transmission line from Quebec, Canada, to Ludlow, Vt., that would be capable of delivering 1,000 MW of electricity.

As proposed, the project includes a nearly 97-mile underwater segment in Lake Champlain and a nearly 57-mile underground segment in Vermont. Electricity shipped through the Clean Power Link would be generated by hydro, wind or other renewable energy sources in Canada and delivered to New England.

In a June 15 statement, TDI-NE Chief Executive Officer Don Jessome said: “This agreement strengthens the commitment the project has made to delivering substantial environmental and economic benefits to Vermont and the region. We appreciate CLF’s collaborative approach in developing this important agreement and in raising thoughtful issues concerning transmission line projects in New England.”

In their filing to the PSB, TDI-NE and CLF agreed that the PSB has sufficient information to approve the project, and CLF agreed not to take actions to oppose the project during the PSB proceedings or any other relevant proceeding for the project.

According to the agreement, TDI-NE will revise the public benefits plan in its application so that the combined value of the Lake Champlain Phosphorus Cleanup Fund, Lake Champlain Enhancement and Restoration Trust Fund, and Vermont Renewables Programs Fund is at least 75 percent greater than the combined value originally proposed by TDI-NE. The original sum of the three funds was $162 million over a 40-year period, and the revised sum of the three funds is about $283.5 million over the same period.

CLF and TDI-NE also agreed to cooperate on the development of a payment schedule that provides for greater annual payments during the initial years of operation. With respect to the Lake Champlain Enhancement and Restoration Trust Fund, the first payment will be $1 million at the project’s financial close, and the second payment will be $1 million at the commencement of commercial operation.

Under the agreement, TDI-NE will establish a Clean Power Link renewables integration advisory committee that would work to find approaches to optimizing the use of the transmission line for integration of regional renewable power. Representatives of TDI-NE, its suppliers, CLF, developers of renewable energy projects in Vermont and other New England states, RENEW, the Vermont Department of Public Service, VELCO and ISO New England will be invited to serve on the committee.

TDI-NE agreed to file with the PSB all of TDI-NE’s contracts with energy suppliers using the Clean Power Link in order to demonstrate that energy shipped over the line comes from hydro, wind or other renewable resources.

The agreement also establishes a new advisory board to manage the Lake Champlain Enhancement and Restoration Trust Fund. A representative of CLF will be appointed to the advisory board along with representatives of other governmental and non-governmental entities.

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