By John Herrick, VTDigger.org
A company seeking to build a high-voltage power line beneath Lake Champlain applied for a state permit Tuesday. TDI New England is asking the Public Service Board for a certificate of public good to build a 154-mile underground and underwater power line that would carry hydroelectric and wind power generated in Canada to metropolitan energy markets.
TDI says it has purchased enough private property to build the project. The company is also seeking permits from federal regulators.
The 1,000 megawatt transmission line is the first of its size to be reviewed for environmental impact on the lake, a state official said. The transmission line would pass under nearly 100 miles of Lake Champlain to a proposed converter station in Ludlow.
The company, which is a subsidiary of a Wall Street financial services group, also said it would contribute nearly $300 million to the state for environmental and other purposes. The benefits package proposed is $298 million over the project’s 40-year lifespan. Of that, $120 million would go into a fund to aid in Lake Champlain phosphorus cleanup, habitat restoration and recreational improvements.
The company is also paying the state’s transmission utility, Vermont Electric Power Co., or VELCO, $136 million. The state’s electric utilities, which own VELCO, would receive the money based on how much power they provide to customers. The money is expected to be used to reduce electric rates, a state official said.
TDI New England would also contribute $40 million to the Clean Energy Development Fund.
The company is a subsidiary of financial firm Blackstone Group, which manages more than $200 billion in assets.
The $1.2 billion project is expected to be completed by 2019, company officials said.