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Q&A on Potential Route Modification in Rockland County

The questions below have been asked during recent stakeholder meetings. If you have questions about CHPE, please email Jennifer Laird-White at Jennifer.White@transmissiondevelopers.com

UPDATED: 10.5.2017

Q: Will the route through Rockland County definitely be changed?

A: At this point, there is no official route change as TDI is still conducting outreach, field work and finalizing the design. In addition, the change can only occur if authorized by regulatory authorities. TDI has identified a new preferred route through Rockland County that is under discussion with community leaders, business groups, residents and other interested stakeholders.

Q: What is the new preferred route?

A: After considering concerns of Rockland officials and residents on the permitted route through the county, TDI undertook a review of 15 potential alternate routes on both sides of the Hudson River. As a result of that exhaustive review, TDI identified a preferred route that it believes minimizes impacts to the county. The proposed route will leave the Hudson River in Stony Point via the Tilcon quarry property. It will leave Tilcon through a short installation on Battlefield / Park Roads and then travel south to Clarkstown on State Route 9W before re-entering the Hudson River through property belonging to the Rockland Lake State Park Commission.

Q: How does the line cross CSX tracks near Tilcon?

A: The line is proposed to pass under the train tracks completely underground via a HDD (horizontal directional drill). Using the HDD method, the line is buried at significant depths under the railroad tracks.

Q: How does line cross Rockland Lake State Park?

A: The line is proposed to pass underground using the HDD technology in the same way it does under the railroad tracks near the Tilcon property. There will be no interference with the golf course or disturbance of the terrain.

Q: How does the line cross the bridge in Stony Point?

A: The proposed approach is to have the line encased in conduit and attached to the underside of the bridge.

Q: Does line stay on Tilcon property until it enters Park Rd?

A: Yes, that is the current preferred route.

Q: How does the transition from submarine cable to terrestrial cable happen?

A: The line will transition from underwater to underground (or vice versa) using an HDD as described above. The terrestrial and marine cables are then spliced together in jointing enclosures installed as part of the underground cable system. Splicing is a very specialized, meticulous process that is accomplished by the cable manufacturer.

Q: How much heat does the transmission line generate?

A: Any time electric current runs through a wire, heat is generated. For the CHPE cable, heat is expected to be produced at the equivalency of a small night light, at approximately 5.7 watts per foot. (A night light generates between 4-7 watts per foot of heat output).

Q: Will there be cooling stations?

A: There will be no cooling stations along the route. The advances in technology and use of heat dissipating materials (if ever required) within the cable conduit has made the need for the deployment of cooling stations unnecessary.

Q: How will CHPE deal with the Ramapo Fault?

A: The Ramapo Fault (or any fault), has no bearing on the safety impacts arising out of the placement of the transmission line. The cables are solid state, with no fluids, so, if there were to be a seismic event, there would be no release or discharge of material and the line would instantly shut down.

Q: What will occur once the CHPE is no longer operating?

A: The permit issued by the State of NY concluded that the cable would remain in place at the end of its useful life.

Q: Will local labor be used to build CHPE?

A: Local, union labor will be used to the greatest extent possible through a local Project Labor Agreement. However, there will be highly specialized work that may not be performed by local labor due to the expert skills involved in the work (cable spicing for example). This would be the exception rather than the rule. We will not know the exact labor needs until the project is bid and awarded. Pre-design survey work planned for fall, 2017 is being conducted by the Chazen Companies, which has offices located along the Hudson Valley.

Q: Is night work possible on 9W during testing and construction?

A: Yes. TDI is exploring methods, like work at night, to reduce inconveniences to residences and businesses.

Q: Does CHPE cross the AIM pipeline? If so, how will it be done safely?

A: The CHPE cable will cross the AIM pipeline north of Stony Point in the Hudson River. As will be the case with all instances where the cable crosses existing marine located utilities (i.e., co-located infrastructure), a protective crossing strategy (and associated agreements) will be worked out between TDI and the incumbent owner and relevant agencies, such as USACOE, USCG, and the New York State Public Service Commission. In the typical case, there will be a layer of industry standard mattress protection placed above the incumbent infrastructure and then, after the cables are laid, a top layer of the same protective mattressing will be installed to ensure the continued safety and integrity of both infrastructure.

Q: What is the strength of the Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) of CHPE?

A: Electric and magnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment. AC and DC electricity both produce electric and magnetic fields, but the electric and magnetic fields produced by DC are different than those produced by AC lines. DC produces static fields that do not vary over time as they do in AC. DC electric fields are created by the voltage of electrical equipment and magnetic fields are created when electric current flows through a wire. The fields are strongest near their origin and decrease rapidly as you move away from the source.

There will be no external electric field associated with the CHPE project. The submarine and terrestrial cables that will be used have a metallic sheath that will serve to block the electric field so that outside of the cables the field strength will effectively be zero.

The magnetic field around the cables will be similar to the earth's magnetic field. Burying the cables close together will reduce the magnetic field strength so that it's undetectable from the natural magnetic field of the earth.

Q: What happens if you touch the line?

A: Nothing. It should be noted that once fully installed, the line will not be accessible to any unauthorized or unsuspecting persons to access or touch the line.

Q: What happens if the line breaks?

A: The transmission line is solid state and de-energizes within a fraction of a second. There is no discharge of electricity to the surrounding area.

Q: How will the transmission line survive storms?

A: The transmission line is solid state and de-energizes within a fraction of a second. There is no discharge of electricity to the surrounding area.

Q: Is there another line that is already in operation that functions similarly so that we can better understand impacts?

A:There are several transmission lines that are similar to CHPE and currently operational.

1. Cross Sound Cable, built in 2000 between Long Island and Connecticut.
(http://www.crosssoundcable.com)

2. Neptune Transmission Project, built in 2007 between New Jersey and Long Island.
(http://neptunerts.com/the-project/)

3. Trans Bay Cable, built in 2010 between Pittsburg, CA to San Francisco, CA.
(http://www.transbaycable.com)

Q: Are there funds available for an independent project review or look at community impacts (i.e.., are taxes accurate, how will construction impact businesses, which route has least the environmental impact, etc)?

A: Yes, it is expected there will be approximately $125,000 in stakeholder funding as part of the PSC Certificate amendment process. Stakeholders who want to access a portion of these funds have to make a case to the NY PSC that what they propose to undertake is necessary or appropriate to facilitate agency review.

Q: What are the exact projected tax revenues… and if those are not yet available, because of ongoing survey and investigation, when will those numbers be available?

A: Currently, we have tax revenue estimates, but believe they are indicative of what the revenues will be. If a PILOT agreement is reached with the Rockland County, these numbers will become fixed, at least for the term of the PILOT. We expect we will be able to further narrow down tax revenue estimates in the coming weeks.

Q: What assurance is there that there will be no restriction on future land use?

A: As is required with the buried roadway installation of municipal utilities such as water, gas, sewer and electricity, TDI will work closely with the NYSDOT and all Authorities Having Jurisdiction, utilizing their specifications and standards to install the CHPE transmission line under Route 9W. The cable will be installed in a manner such that it is cognizant of the placement of existing utilities and will also be placed within available space within the roadway to minimize its possible impact on future development activities within the right of way.

With that in mind, TDI is focused on establishing a route that optimizes its use of the existing right way in conjunction with current and future installations and avoiding encroachment on private properties.

Q: What are the EMF's if the line crosses the underside of the bridge (as opposed to EMF rates on buried line)?

A: The proposed ±320-kV DC transmission line is proposed to be constructed in conduits hung from under the bridge crossing 9W. The expected magnetic fields from this type of cable arrangement was studied by Dr. William Bailey in December, 2014. Dr. Bailey concluded, "The highest calculated total static magnetic field obtained (calculated magnetic field from cables + geomagnetic field located 3.28 feet above ground) was approximately 1,660 mG, approximately 0.04% of the 4 million mG limit for public exposure as set forth by ICNIRP."

The ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). ICNIRP guidelines on limits of exposure to static magnetic fields (1 Hz – 100 kHz).

Q: Does the transmission line need to be redesigned to eliminate cooling stations in Rockland County? What is the impact on existing permits which indicate cooling stations are necessary for the line as designed?

A: No. There will be no cooling stations along the route. Advances in technology within the cable has made the need for the deployment of cooling stations unnecessary. This update will be reflected in the system design documents to be submitted as part of the Environmental Management and Construction Plan.

Q: Who gets the energy, how is the energy being used and what's the value to the user?

A: TDI's 2010 FERC authorization confers upon TDI the right to sell transmission access at negotiated rates for wholesale transactions. The party buying those rights from TDI essentially pays a toll to use the energy pathway. TDI does not own the electricity, but rather provides the pathway for the energy to be transported from Canada into New York. In all cases power will be delivered into NYISO controlled markets.

Q: Why is the line going on land in Rockland county since the less disruptive route would be for the line to NOT make landfall in Rockland?

A: The Project has to get through the lower Hudson Valley to reach its destination in Queens. During the Article VII proceedings it was determined that the Project needed to bypass the environmentally sensitive Haverstraw Bay Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat, which is why it travels through a portion of Rockland County on land. Routes through Westchester were studied and rejected because of the heavy passenger train traffic on that side of the river.