Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vermont approves power line from Canada to supply renewable electricity to region

In an attempt to make the switch from power plants to renewable energy, Vermont utility regulators have approved a plan to build a 1,000-megawatt transmission line that uses Canadian electricity to feed the regional power grid, Wilson Ring reports for The Associated Press. "TDI New England is still awaiting its final federal permits before it can begin construction and contracts to deliver power, but the system could become the first piece of a system to supply renewable electricity to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island." (The proposed TDI New England route through Vermont is in blue.)

"Unlike the Northern Pass project proposed for northern New Hampshire, the $1.2 billion, privately funded TDI project faced no significant opposition in Vermont, something unusual for the state," Ring writes. The main reason is that the project, which would provide power to about one million homes, would be out of sight, with almost 100 miles of cable at the bottom of Lake Champlain and the other 50 miles buried underground.

"To win approval from Vermont regulators, TDI agreed to fund $720.9 million in payments and benefits over the expected 40-year life of the project once the line is carrying electricity," Ring writes. "It includes $263 million for Lake Champlain cleanup projects, almost $109 million for renewable energy programs and $135.7 million in benefits to Vermont electric ratepayers. And those figures don't include construction jobs or jobs once the line is in operation."

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