Q&A

Frequently asked questions about the Champlain Hudson Power Express®

View the Q&A in Spanish, Greek, Haitian Creole and French by clicking

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What is HVDC transmission?

High-voltage direct current (HVDC) energy transmission is a time-tested technology that transmits power over long distances more efficiently than alternating current (AC) transmission. In addition, HVDC does not produce controversial electromagnetic fields associated with AC transmission.

Learn more about HVDC

What is the project route?

The project route has been carefully designed to have a minimal footprint, using waterways and existing rights of way to remain out of sight and avoid environmentally sensitive areas such as the PCB cleanup site in the upper Hudson River. The project will run from the U.S.-Canadian border, south through Lake Champlain, along and under the Hudson River, and eventually ending at a converter station in Astoria Queens.

See a map of the preferred route.

How will this project affect the environment?

Because the solid-state cables are only five inches in diameter, it is possible to run them underwater and underground along existing rights of way, minimally disturbing the environment and preserving natural views. Careful attention has been paid to avoid environmentally sensitive locations, such as PCB concentrations in the Hudson River.

How will the cable be installed?

The cable will be installed using low-impact water jet technology that minimally impacts the environment. See a demonstration video of how the cable would be installed:

 

Will this project use overhead transmission in New York?

No. The cable will either be placed in existing waterways or buried underground. There will be no new overhead transmission associated with this project.

What happens if a line is cut or broken—will the water become electrified?

If the cable is damaged, HVDC protection reduces the current and voltage to zero in a fraction of a second so there is no possibility of damage to persons, fish or any nearby infrastructure.

What precautions will be taken to protect the cable once it is in the water? Can anchors from boats snag it?

To protect against an anchor or fishing equipment damaging the cable, the line is placed below the bottom of the waterways, and either submerged into the river/lake bed or covered with a barrier to prevent snagging. In the highly unlikely event that the cable is snagged, the sheer weight of the cable will inform the vessel that they’ve attached to a major subsurface object. The cable itself incorporates fiber optic thermal and communication protection features that would detect any snag, as well as fault protection equipment at both converter stations to clear any fault nearly instantaneously. These safety features will shut down operations immediately should the cable become damaged in order to protect both life and equipment.

Who is financing this project?

The project will be 100% privately financed. TDI’s lead sponsor and equity provider is the Blackstone Group. The construction debt financing will come from a consortium of commercial banks and other private debt providers.

What if there are overruns? Will those be passed through to rate payers?

As a private project, any cost overruns would be born by the private owners of the project. Ratepayers will not be affected by construction cost overruns.

Where is this new power coming from?

TDI designed this project to meet the growing demands of the New York marketplace by bringing new sources of clean, affordable, renewable energy to consumers. The source of this energy will be renewable energy generators.

Where is the power going?

The power will be delivered to a converter station that will be built in Astoria Queens, New York, and will be connected into the Con Edison grid.

Does the government approve this project? What approvals are needed?

The project has received all required federal and state permits, and we will work with applicable agencies on any permit modifications required to protect the environment. More information on permitting is available here.

Will this project affect PCB cleanup in the Hudson River?

No. To avoid installing the HVDC cables within areas associated with the Hudson River PCB Dredging Project, the HVDC cable route will exit before the Champlain Canal and follow street and railroad rights of way. The line will be buried throughout this area to avoid the visual impacts of overhead transmission.

Has this type of project been done before? Is it safe to bury cables underwater?

Buried high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cables have been used worldwide for nearly 80 years. Some of the first commercial uses for HVDC lines date back to the early 1950s, and many are still in service today. These include projects such as the Neptune project which safely connects New Jersey and Long Island via an HVDC cable that runs right through New York Harbor. HVDC cables are installed to:

  • Minimize impacts on the environment and protect New York’s scenic landscapes
  • Avoid visual impacts that are often caused by overhead transmission projects
  • Minimize electrical energy losses that typically occur with traditional overhead transmission lines
What type of maintenance will this project require?

The converter stations will have periodic maintenance performed on transformers and other electrical equipment as specified by the manufacturer. The cables are monitored on a continuous basis and, unless damage is detected, they are virtually maintenance-free.

Is this a safe project?

This project is extremely safe, utilizing solid-state cables that are made from well insulated nonflammable materials that do not contain liquids or gels that could leak. The HVDC converter stations are also solid state with no flammable fuel—unlike thermal generation stations. To minimize the possibility of damage, the HVDC converter stations incorporate electrical protection systems that identify and isolate faults in a fraction of a second.

Read more about safety.

Will the project affect the commercial and recreational use of both the Hudson River or other waterways?

No. The current and future use of these waterways will be unaffected.

What maintenance needs to be done on the lines?

The cables are monitored on a continuous basis and, unless damage is detected, they are virtually maintenance free. The converter stations will have periodic maintenance performed on transformers and other electrical equipment as specified by the manufacturer.

Is there any testing that will need to be done in waterways to make sure the lines can be placed in them?

Various tests have been done on the waterways where the lines will be placed. These include a side scan sonar analysis and bottom sampling of the riverbeds and lakes where the project will be located.

What voltage level will the project operate at?

The project will operate at between 300–320 kV, depending upon the technology that is selected.

What was the major decision made by the PSC for your project on April 18, 2013?

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order Granting Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (permit). The commission found that the project had significant environmental benefits; provided needed transmission supply into a congested NYC load pocket; provided fuel diversity; connected renewable, stable-cost hydro resources into NYC; and strengthened the interconnection between the Quebec and New York grids. The permit is required to construct the project in the state of New York.

How will the CHPE project connect with Quebec?

The CHPE project will connect to the Quebec transmission system by running matching HVDC cable past the New York–Canadian border and splicing it onto existing cable within the Quebec transmission system. On the Canadian side, the cable is expected to run to the Hertel HVAC converter substation near the City of Montreal. HydroQuebec will be responsible for the connection and infrastructure on the Canadian side of the border.

http://www.hydroquebec.com/hertel-new-york/en/

Response of Champlain Hudson Power Express to Questions Raised by Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council

The Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council (“Hudson 7”) requested additional information on the Project. The document below represents a summary of the questions raised by the Hudson 7 and our responses.

TDI Q&A on Hudson River Water Intakes

How much will this project cost?

This project is entirely privately funded, and the overall cost is approximately $6 billion.

How long will construction take in my community?

The Astoria-Rainey cable is permitted and construction will start in May 2024, and the project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2025. We will continue to keep the community informed throughout construction.

How would this project improve my community?

CHPE will deliver 20 percent of remaining generation needed to meet New York State’s 2030 renewable energy targets. Also, the carbon emissions reduction resulting from the CHPE will be equivalent to removing approximately 44 percent of the cars from NYC streets. The availability of renewable hydroelectric power eliminates the need for local fossil power generation in the Astoria area reducing local air pollution. The nature of hydroelectric power allows energy to be held in reserve via dams and re-leased as needed, providing a resilient, dependable source of clean, renewable and affordable energy. CHPE will quickly help New York jump-start its move to a renewable generation future.

Will streets be closed during construction?

We are still evaluating existing field conditions and potential road or lane closures needed for construction. We will work with the DOT and municipalities to develop proper traffic control plans and communicate any temporary roadway restrictions with the community.

Will I have full access to my property during construction?

Ingress and egress to homes and businesses will be maintained during construction; although that may mean it is provided through a temporary entrance as we access certain areas.

How will this impact my property?

Construction will largely take place in existing rights of way. If we do need additional easements on your property, the project team will contact you prior to construction to coordinate.

What will be done to restore rights of way and my property after construction is finished?

Following construction, any impacted property will be restored to its previous condition. Some locations along the route may see improvements to crosswalks and pavement to improve accessibility.

Who do I call if I need additional information or have questions/concerns during construction?

Your questions or comments, big or small, are important to us and any inquiry made to us by phone or email will get an individ-ual response. Feel free to call our outreach hotline at 800-991-CHPE (2473) or email us directly at publicoutreach@ahazzo.com.