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Champlain Hudson Power Express Celebrates Start of Construction on Converter Station; Announces First Funding Recipients for Green Jobs Training Fund

Champlain Hudson Power Express Celebrates Start of Construction on Converter Station; Announces First Funding Recipients for Green Jobs Training Fund

Construction paves way for first ever conversion of a fossil-fuel site into grid-scale zero-emissions facility in New York City 

Converter station will convert 1,250 MW of clean energy from direct current to alternating current power; Power to flow via subterrestrial and submarine cables stretching 339 miles from Québec to Queens

Construction accelerates progress towards NY State’s goal of 70 percent of electricity statewide from renewable sources by 2030

Queens, New York – September 19, 2023 – Today, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk, Premier of Québec Francois Legault, officials from Transmission Developers and Hydro-Québec, local stakeholders, elected officials and community members gathered at the Astoria Generating Station in Queens, New York to celebrate the start of work on the future Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) converter station, the first grid scale conversion of a former fossil fuel site to a clean energy facility in New York City. The precedent-setting CHPE project will power over 1M residences, reducing harmful emissions by 3.9M metric tons and significantly improving air quality for all New Yorkers. The state of the art converter is expected to begin operating in 2026, transitioning 1,250 MW of clean Québec hydropower from direct current to alternating current, after which it will be fed into New York City’s power grid. 

The start of construction on the CHPE converter station is another important step towards helping achieve New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to obtain 70 percent of electricity statewide from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid. In order to make way for the CHPE converter station, significant remediation work was required to prepare the site for construction of this zero-emissions facility. In total, six tanks which previously stored 12 million gallons of No. 6 oil, as well as nearly four miles of piping were removed from the site. Construction on the converter officially began on June 22 and is expected to be complete in 2026. During peak construction, approximately 150 union workers will be on-site developing the facility. The lead contractor for the site is Kiewit Corporation, and Hitachi Energy is the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology provider for the converter station at the heart of the project. 

As part of the construction kickoff, CHPE today announced the first recipients of funding from the Green Economy Fund (GEF), a $40 million fund created by Hydro-Québec and Transmission Developers to support disadvantaged communities, low-income individuals, and transitioning fossil fuel workers in accessing and building careers in New York State’s green economy. The GEF’s direction is informed by an Advisory Board made up of experienced local community members, experts in workforce development, and environmental justice leaders across New York State.

Four awards totaling $750,000 will be provided to Pathways to Apprenticeship, Stacks + Joules, Nontraditional Employment for Women, and the NYC District Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship Journeyman Retraining Educational & Industry Fund (AJREIF). These four organizations are focused on workforce development and training initiatives geared towards building an equitable and inclusive climate industry, and the awarded programs have laid out clear paths to high-quality careers for low-income and disadvantaged New Yorkers. The next Request for Proposals as part of the GEF is set for early 2024, and will be focused specifically on training and development programs operating outside of New York City. 

A media kit which includes photos and videos of the converter site’s remediation can be found here.

“Renewable energy plays a critical role in the transformation of our power grid while creating a cleaner environment for our future generations,” Governor Hochul said. “The transformation of a fossil fuel site into a zero-emission facility highlights the world of possibilities we have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, mitigate the impact of climate change and accelerate our collective progress of shifting our power grid to go green.”

“I am proud to inaugurate the converter station which is part of a very important project to reduce GHGs in North America: the Champlain Hudson Power Express,” said François Legault, Premier of Québec. “This historic partnership between Hydro-Québec, TDI, the Mohawk Community and the State of New York will link Québec to New York City to export our hydroelectricity for the next 25 years. New York has some of the most ambitious decarbonization targets in the United States, and Québec is proud to help New Yorkers achieve them. Today’s inauguration proves that we are reliable and serious as a leader of the energy transition in North America.”

“I am proud to attend this construction kickoff to represent the important role that my Mohawk community of Kahnawà:ke has played in this project as co-owners of the transmission line on the northern side of the border that will transport clean renewable electricity to the people of New York,” said Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke. “Over the past century, our Mohawk ironworkers have helped build up the New York City skyline. And now we have an opportunity to contribute in a different manner as stewards of the environment. As such, Kahnawà:ke is grateful to contribute to New York’s continuing transition towards green energy.”

“The start of construction on our New York City converter site is not only a major step forward for the project’s construction but also a representation of how crucial CHPE is to decarbonizing our grid and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to power this great city,” said TDI CEO Justin Sauber. “Building a zero-emissions converter on a site that once housed millions of gallons of oil is no small feat and we are so grateful to our many partners who have helped us get to this point. We look forward to continuing with construction and bringing CHPE online in 2026.” 

“We often talk about fighting climate change in terms of our ambitions for the long term, but today with construction on the Champlain Hudson Power Express well under way, we are talking about delivering big results in less than three years,” said Serge Abergel, COO of Hydro-Québec. “Broadening the clean energy conversation was critical to our shared success, and will be essential to building future renewable projects. Hydro-Quebec’s commitment to continuing this conversation with New York communities will be ongoing for the next 25 years and more.”

“This project will deliver large scale economic benefits, new clean energy jobs and increased reliability and resilience to New York’s power grid,” said Blackstone Senior Managing Director Bilal Khan. “We are proud to be a part of this transformative energy transition project for New York.”

“If New York is to maintain its leadership in green infrastructure and clean energy transition, it is critical that we continue to invest in workforce development that will not only spearhead key development initiatives, like the CHPE project, but also create good paying union careers for hardworking New Yorkers,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “The awards from The Green Energy Fund will be influential to our efforts to train a highly skilled workforce that can effectively and masterfully meet the labor demands of this project and others like it. We look forward to continuing our work with CHPE and the State to provide our union tradesmen and tradeswomen with opportunities that allow them to be catalysts in New York’s achievement of its climate goals while actively pursuing an accessible path to the middle class.”

“Queens knows all too well the devastating consequences of unchecked climate change and fossil fuel consumption. To ensure our borough is not only a livable but thriving place for the next generations, we must move with the urgency of now in our total transition to renewable energy,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “That promise of a cleaner, more sustainable future is exactly what the Champlain Hudson Power Express represents. As Queens continues its push toward becoming a global leader in resiliency and renewable energy, our borough is grateful to everyone on each side of the U.S.-Canada border who had a hand in making this day possible.”

“The Champlain Hudson Power Express will deliver cleaner and lower cost power to the people of New York, create clean energy union jobs of the future, and support the Biden-Harris administration investments towards a carbon free power sector by 2035 and decarbonized economy by 2050,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk. “I applaud Hydro-Québec, Transmission Developers, Inc., and all community and government partners on this momentous step forward.”

“Con Edison is a proud supporter of the Champlain Hudson Power Express because it is clear to us that climate change poses a real and urgent threat,” said Tim Cawley, Con Edison’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The clean energy transition is critical for New York’s future which is why we’re expanding and strengthening our energy system to meet the region’s growing demand for electricity. Today’s milestone also serves as a great example of how the transition from fossil fuels to renewables creates jobs and contributes to a robust economy.”

“This one-of-a-kind project is a great example of leveraging HVDC technology to bring large amounts of renewable energy, such as hydro directly to US cities,” said Hitachi Energy CEO Claudio Facchin. “This brings us closer to a continental grid across borders and time zones.”

Construction on CHPE – which will span approximately 339 miles between the Canada-U.S. border and New York City – kicked off on November 30, 2022 in Whitehall, NY. Since then, project crews have been hard at work executing and preparing for construction activity throughout New York State. Active construction work is occurring throughout New York State in Plattsburgh, Whitehall, Putnam Station, and Port Edward. Over 100 reels of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable have now arrived at Port of Albany and been transported throughout the state where they will be prepared for installation. 

The historic CHPE project falls under the State’s first-of-its-kind renewable energy and transmission program, known as Tier 4, that is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The program aims to responsibly deliver a significant increase of renewable energy to New York City, an area of the state that relies on aging fossil fuel-fired generation located largely in underserved communities, experiences the most significant air quality issues and health impacts from fossil fuel emissions, and has a marked need for improved grid reliability and resiliency. 

CHPE will provide competitively priced hydropower from Québec that is expected to lower climate emissions and local air pollutants, as well as electricity generation costs throughout the state by $17 billion over the first 25 years of operation, all the while providing increased reliability and resiliency for the downstate grid. The project also provides a total of $3.5 billion in economic benefits to New Yorkers and creates approximately 1,400 family-sustaining jobs during construction, with a commitment to use union labor. 

“EPA is playing a major role in our clean energy transition by encouraging projects similar to this that reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels for alternatives that foster new economic opportunities, create jobs, and reduce emissions,” said Lisa F. Garcia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is helping to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments.”

“Clean energy transmission is the catalyst that will accelerate New York City’s transition away from fossil fuels and support the success of New York City’s Local Law 97,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Special Advisor on Climate and Sustainability at Columbia University and former NYC Chief Climate Policy Advisor. “We’re in the critical decade to achieve deep reductions in carbon pollution and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Starting construction on the CHPE Converter Station in Astoria, Queens marks a major milestone for bringing clean energy into New York City and puts us on the path to ending the city’s reliance on fossil fuels. Congratulations to Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, the teams at TDI and Hydro-Quebec, and everyone who helped us reach this milestone and demonstrate what a clean energy transition looks like.”

“The importance of the Champlain Hudson Power Express project to maintaining grid reliability and enabling the transition to the grid of the future cannot be overstated,” said Richard Dewey, President & and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator. “By delivering 1,250 megawatts of clean, renewable hydropower to the New York City metro area, this project plays a key role in the move to electrify the economy and meet the state’s ambitious clean energy goals.  On behalf of the NYISO, I congratulate CHPE and TDI on this important milestone and look forward to working with the companies as we continue to transform and modernize the electric system.” 

“The Bronx has one of the highest asthma rates in the country. In New York alone, my home borough has hospitalization rates 70% higher than the rest of the city and 700% higher than the rest of the state,” said New York State Assemblymember Kenny Burgos. “This has resulted from decades of racial injustice in our community and bearing the brunt of fossil fuel addiction. The Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) will create new green union jobs, bring clean energy to our state, and finally begin to end our reliance on fossil fuels. More importantly, it will address the environmental injustices that have plagued the Bronx and our state for far too long.”

“I am overjoyed to be celebrating the start of construction of the Champlain Hudson Power Express project in Astoria,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, CEO and Co-Founder of Urban Upbound. “For too long our communities have suffered the effects of fossil fuel, thus we welcome CHPE and the clean, renewable energy it will deliver to NYC with open arms. Urban Upbound calls on our partners in government to open the doors to more projects and to position our city and State as the green energy leaders in the country. We congratulate our partners at Hydro-Québec and TDI on this important milestone.”

“Replacing New York City’s fossil fuel dependency with renewable energy is a challenging and complicated process, however, that is exactly what is happening,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We are excited and grateful that clean, safe hydropower will be on its way to New York City in a few years. This is a significant project that provides a meaningful advancement of redirecting New York City’s damaging reliance on dirty fossil fuel to a cleaner, healthier future.  We congratulate Governor Hochul and the whole Champlain Hudson team for meeting the challenges of implementing this project and we are thrilled to celebrate this milestone.” 

“The more we electrify, the more we rely on a renewable grid, which makes this project especially important to bring clean power directly to New York City when we need it most,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “Champlain Hudson Power Express is helping to usher in a new era for decarbonization.”

“CHPE is one of the most exciting developments in New York City since the Ali/Frazier fight. And speaking of fights, CHPE will be a key tool in our collective fight against a quintessential climate crisis that continues to admonish the world through sets of increasingly devastating cataclysms that disproportionately impact the communities I serve with NYLPI,” said New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Environmental Justice Director, Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright.  “CHPE is going to deliver a shot in the arm of clean, renewable energy that will allow New York to live up to its climate commitments like shutting down dirty, profligate peaker plants that choke out Black, Brown and poor people throughout the City and State.” He continued, ”CHPE is a demonstration of HydroQuebec’s commitment to environmental justice, and it shows through their process that included communities from the outset, which serves as a model and refutation of political actors who believe we need to sacrifice community participation and early engagement with workers for expedience. NYLPI is so pleased to support CHPE and honored to consider HydroQuebec friends and partners in the fight against climate change, and ipso facto environmental injustices.” 

“Today is a great day for the energy transition away from fossil fuels here in Astoria,” said Costa Constantinides, CEO of Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. “For too long our community has borne the brunt of fossil fuel production and the health impacts that have turned our neighborhood into Asthma Alley. The CHPE converter transformation promises us 1250 MW of clean power flowing to Astoria protecting our lungs while powering our homes.  I am so excited to have CHPE become part of the fabric of our community and be a long term partner here in Astoria.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen and continues to fight to transform Asthma Alley into Renewable Row. Our kids are excited to be part of this revolution and the investment CHPE has made in their futures.”

About the Champlain Hudson Power Express

CHPE is an underground and underwater transmission line spanning approximately 339 miles between the Canada–U.S. border and New York City.

CHPE will also provide competitively priced hydropower from Québec that is expected to lower climate emissions and local air pollutants, as well as electricity generation costs throughout the state by $17 billion over the first 25 years of operation, all the while providing increased reliability and resiliency for the downstate grid. The project also provides a total of $3.5 billion in economic benefits to New Yorkers and creates approximately 1,400 family-sustaining jobs during construction, with a commitment to use union labor. CHPE will provide an economic boost to 73 municipalities and 59 school districts throughout New York State with an increase in incremental tax revenue of $1.4 billion in funding for local communities over the first 25 years of the project. CHPE will provide an economic boost to 73 municipalities and 59 school districts throughout New York State with an increase in incremental tax revenue of $1.4 billion in funding for local communities over the first 25 years of the project. The project has also established a $117M Environmental Trust Fund to protect our natural habitats.