VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
VPR News
Explore our latest coverage of environmental issues, climate change and more.

Developers Pile On With Plans For Wind, Hydro Power Lines Under Lake Champlain

Lake water.
Taylor Dobbs
VPR file
Developer Anbaric and transmission company National Grid are partnering on a renewable energy transmission cable to run under Lake Champlain.

As the permitting process gets underway for the TDI-New England proposal for the New England Clean Power Link, another submarine transmission cable is in the planning stages, part of a rush of proposed projects to bring renewable energy to New England states working to change their energy portfolios.

The Vermont Green Line is a proposed 60-mile under-lake and underground power line that would run from Plattsburgh, N.Y. under Lake Champlain to a substation in New Haven, Vt. The transmission line is being designed by The Green Line Infrastructure Alliance, which is made up of the international energy company National Grid and transmission developer Anbaric.

Unlike the New England Clean Power Link, which is designed to bring hydro power from Canada into the southern New England market, The Green Line seeks to bring wind energy to the market, specifically to Massachusetts, says Anbaric CEO Ed Krapels.

“The critical competitive factor – and we designed the project for this – is that it brings wind and hydro together,” he said – the hydro coming from sources in Canada. “The Massachusetts renewable legislation gives a special place, called Class 1 Resources, to wind and solar. So our renewable targets require us to access a substantial amount of wind, and so our project was expressly designed to meet that requirement, and if Massachusetts utilities don’t meet the requirement they have to pay very heavy penalties. Well you can’t get there – you can’t satisfy those obligations with just hydro.”

Krapels said he expects that the utilities working to satisfy those renewables requirements will like what The Vermont Green Line has to offer.

“We think the wind and hydro combination is really efficient because you can get both wind and hydro through a single system, and we think that’s going to be a winning argument for the selectors,” he said.

But first the project, which Krapels said could be in service as soon as the end of 2019, has to be permitted. Bryan Sanderson, a partner at Anbaric, says the companies are in the process of developing their permit applications. Krapels acknowledges that the developers might have to pay up - as TDI New England has agreed to do - to make the project worth it for Vermont.

“We understand and we appreciate what TDI has done to provide community benefits for Vermont, and we’re certainly going to do something similar,” he said. “So the basic idea that transmission lines need to provide benefits for communities is a principle that we completely accept.”

Krapels said the company isn’t ready to share any potential benefits proposals because he doesn’t want to override state regulators’ right to dictate the terms.

He also refused to share a cost estimate for the project.

"We want to have full discussions with stakeholders and finalize our route before we give any cost estimates,” he said.

In addition to needing a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board, the project would also require a state-level permit in New York as well as a federal permit.

Another transmission cable – the Champlain Hudson Power Express – has already been approved to bring wind and hydro power from the U.S.-Canada border into the New York City market. That project does not cross through Vermont.

Correction 4:02 p.m. An earlier version of this story misidentified the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance. The text above has been corrected.

Related Content