Q: What is HVdc Transmission?
A: High Voltage direct current (HVdc) energy transmission is a time-tested technology that transmits power over long distances more efficiently than Alternating Current (AC) transmission. In addition, HVdc does not produce controversial electromagnetic fields associated with AC transmission. For more information on HVdc click here.
Q: What is the project route?
A: The proposed route will start in the U.S.– Canadian Border, travel south through Lake Champlain and along railroad right of ways (avoiding environmentally sensitive areas such as the PCB cleanup site in the upper Hudson River), and then enter the Hudson River south of Albany. The power will be delivered to a converter stations in Astoria Queens.
To see a map of the preferred route, click here.
Q: How will this project affect the environment?
A: Placing these cables, which are only five inches in diameter, underwater and underground will be minimally invasive to the surrounding environment and preserve natural views. The cable is solid state and compact, further minimizing risks to the environment.
Q: How will the cable be installed?
A: The cable will be installed using low-impact water jet technology that minimally impacts the environment. To see a demonstration video of how the cable would be installed, click here.
Q: Will this project use overhead transmission in New York?
A: No. The cable will either be placed in existing waterways or buried underground. There will be no new overhead transmission associated with this project.
Q: What happens if a line is cut or broken — will the water become electrified?
A: If the cable is damaged, HVdc protection reduces the current and voltage to zero in a fraction of a second so there is no possibility of damage to persons, fish, or any nearby infrastructure.
Q: What precautions will be taken to protect the cable once it is in the water? Can anchors from boats snag it?
A: The cables will be buried well below the bottom of the waterways to protect against an anchor or fishing equipment snagging the cable. In the unlikely event that the cable is snagged, given the weight of the cable, the boat that has snagged the cable will immediately know that it is attached to a major subsurface feature. There will be both fiber optic thermal and communications protection on the equipment that will detect this "snag" as well as fault protection equipment at both converter stations to clear any fault very quickly. The cable protection equipment is designed to shut down operation in order to protect life and equipment in the very unlikely event that the cable becomes damaged by external equipment.
Q: Who is financing this project?
A: TDI plans to use a mix of private equity, shippers and contractor support to finance this project. TDI's lead investor is the Blackstone Group, one of the world's leading investment and advisory firms with total fee-earning assets under management of over $190 billion. Blackstone specializes in private equity and has emerged as one of the largest private equity firms in the world.
Q: As a rate-paying utility customer, will I be required to pick up the costs of the project though my utility bill?
A: No. The CHPE project is a "merchant" project, which means that the developers are responsible for finding financing and the customers needed to make the project an economic success.
Q: Where is this new power coming from?
A: TDI is committed to bringing new sources of clean energy to help meet the growing needs of the New York market. This line is expected to be used primarily by renewable generators in Canada who will contract for long term space on the line to deliver their energy to the NY market.
Q: Where is the power going?
A: The power will be delivered to a converter station that will be built in Astoria Queens, New York and will be connected into the Con Edison grid.
Q: How will it affect electric rates, in Upstate and Downstate New York?
A: Since the power is coming from new sources, the lines will not have any impact on Upstate power rates.
Market studies performed by London Economics show the power delivered by this new line will help lower electric rates for consumers.
Q: Does the government approve this project? What approvals are needed?
A: The project is subject to thorough state and federal governmental reviews and permitting. For a full discussion of regulatory requirements, click here.
Q: Will the public have a chance to participate in the process?
A: Yes. In addition to the public participation that is required under state and federal permitting processes, TDI will continue its program of extensive outreach to the public, elected officials, and any interest groups. To date there have been over 26 public meetings, from Plattsburgh to New York City, on this project.
Q: Will this project affect PCB clean up in the Hudson River?
A: No. To avoid installing the HVdc cables within areas associated with the Hudson River PCB Dredging Project, the HVdc cable route will exit before the Champlain Canal and follow street and a railroads right of way. The line will be buried throughout this area to avoid the visual impacts of overhead transmission.
Q: Has this type of project been done before? Is it safe to put electric cables in water?
A: Underwater HVdc cables are in operation all over the world. For example, the Neptune project in New York harbor, an underwater HVdc cable connecting New Jersey and Long Island, has recently gone into service. Burying cables along natural waterways is both cost effective and esthetically benign.
Q: How long do these lines stay in operation?
A: There are many examples of these projects in operation for more than 50 years. The converter stations will have periodic maintenance performed on transformers and other electrical equipment as specified by the manufacturer. The cables are monitored on a continuous basis and, unless damage is detected, they are virtually maintenance free.
Q: Is this a safe project?
A: Yes, this is a very safe project. The HVdc cables that will be used for this project are solid, are made from non flammable materials, are well insulated and do not contain liquids or gels. The HVdc converter stations are solid state and contain no flammable fuel, as compared with thermal generation stations. Electrical protection systems within the HVdc converter stations will isolate any fault, in a small fraction of a second to minimize the possibility of damage.
Q: Will the project affect the commercial and recreational use of both the Hudson River and other waterways?
A: No. The current and future use of these waterways will be unaffected.
Q: What maintenance needs to be done on the lines?
A: The cables are monitored on a continuous basis and, unless damage is detected, they are virtually maintenance free. The converter stations will have periodic maintenance performed on transformers and other electrical equipment as specified by the manufacturer.
Q: Is there any testing that will need to be done in waterways to make sure the lines can be placed in them?
A: Various tests have been done on the waterways where the lines will be placed. These include a side scan sonar analysis and bottom sampling of the riverbeds and lakes where the project will be located.
Q: Is there a need for new transmission?
A: Yes. Governor Andrew Cuomo's NY Energy Highway Initiative plainly states the "Key to powering our economic growth is expanding our energy infrastructure".
Q: What voltage level will the project operate at?
A: The project will operate at between 300-320kv depending upon the technology that is selected.
Q: I don't live in New York City, will I see any benefit from this project?
A: Yes. TDI has done an extensive economic analysis on this project through London Economics and the analysis has shown that the project will result in lower energy prices in the New York market. In addition, this analysis shows the line will create thousands of new jobs and boost the state's gross domestic product.
Q: What was the major decision made by the PSC for your project on April 18, 2013?
A: The New York Public Service Commission (the "PSC") issued an order Granting Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Permit). The Commission found that the project had significant environmental benefits, provided needed transmission supply into a congested NYC load pocket, provide fuel diversity, connected renewable, stable cost hydro resources into NYC and strengthened the interconnection between the Quebec and NY grids. The Permit is required to construct the project in the state of New York.
Q: How will the CHPE project connect with Quebec?
A: The CHPE project will connect to the Quebec transmission system by continuing to run the HVDC cables past the NY-Canadian border and splice the cables onto Quebec's identical HVDC cables. The Quebec cables will continue to run to a converter station that is expected to be located at or near the Hertel HVAC substation, which is located near the city of Montreal. Hydro Quebec is developing this project. More information on this project is available at the HydroQuebec website.