Winning renewable energy projects will run a cable through the Hudson River

  • The project will provide hydroelectric power from Canada along 340 miles of transmission cable.
  • Thousands of good jobs touted for the project
  • Riverkeeper criticizes Champlain Hudson project as offensive to Indigenous communities

The state on Monday awarded contracts to two companies to provide upstate and Canadian solar, wind and hydroelectric power to New York City, along routes requiring transmission cables the along the bottom of the Hudson River.

The winning projects – the Champlain Hudson Power Express and Clean Path New York – were among seven projects vying for the opportunity to provide green power to New York City as part of the state’s efforts to reduce the city’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The contracts will need the support of the State Civil Service Commission before permits are granted.

Governor Kathy Hochul said the projects will play a critical role in helping the state meet its ambitious green energy goals over the next decade and beyond. The state wants 70% of its energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

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And the key to that is to reduce New York City’s long reliance on fossil fuels as its primary source of energy. The lower state region depends on fossil fuels for 80 percent of its energy. Northern State,

John Lipscomb, pilot of the Riverkeeper's patrol boat, marks locations on a river map as he descends the Hudson River on Monday, August 23, 2021.

“Communities in New York City repeatedly face dire consequences as a result of the devastation caused by the global climate crisis, and the stakes have never been higher as we face economic and environmental destruction than these extreme weather events leave behind, ”Hochul said. “These transformative projects are a win-win solution: they create thousands of new, well-paying jobs statewide and attract billions of dollars in private investment.

“They are also helping us turn the page on New York’s long-standing dependence on fossil fuels,” she added. “And ensure that millions of New Yorkers, especially those living in our most vulnerable communities, can have the promise of cleaner air and a healthier future.”

The $ 2.2 billion Champlain Hudson project will provide hydroelectricity from Canada along 340 miles of transmission cable. Some 200 miles will be covered underwater and another 140 over land, most of them in upstate New York.

The 174-mile Clean Path project will start at a Delaware County substation and run south to the Rainey substation in the Astoria section of Queens, according to its proposal. The transmission cable will run along existing rights-of-way in the upstate before entering the Hudson at an industrial site in the City of New Windsor.

Cable would then travel 16 miles underwater before coming back to land at Buchanan. From there, an underground cable buried along the right-of-way would run south to Ossining, where they would reenter the river for the 20 mile run to Queens.

“This is a transformative time for New York City’s fight against climate change,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Two new transmission lines connecting New York City with electricity from water, wind and solar power will create thousands of good union jobs, improve the resilience and reliability of our power supply, and reduce greatly our dependence on oil and gas electricity which dirty the air in our neighborhoods and endanger our planet.

The environmental group, Riverkeeper, criticized the Champlain Hudson project, saying the governor had chosen “the most environmentally damaging and unfair project among the seven.”

Riverkeeper is concerned that the dams used in Canada to create hydroelectricity are having a detrimental impact on indigenous communities in the region.

“The project would encourage more unsustainable hydroelectric power that harms Indigenous communities in Canada, send New York energy dollars out of our country, and turn hundreds of miles of the Hudson River and Lake Champlain into construction sites,” said Dan Shapley, the interim Guardian of the Hudson River. “It is a shameful use of public money to subsidize this project over viable competitors.”

Champlain Hudson developer Hydro-Quebec said it was working closely with Indigenous people in Canada to address their concerns and altered its route of the Hudson River to limit the impact on fish habitat.

John Lipscomb is piloting the Riverkeeper patrol boat, R. Ian Fletcher, along the Hudson River on Monday, August 23, 2021.

Both projects have the backing of The Nature Conservancy, which said they would protect natural resources while helping the state tackle the effects of climate change.

The projects will produce 18 million megawatts of power in the upstate and across Canada per year, enough to power 2.5 million homes, state officials say.

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