IPPNY Responds to Gov. Cuomo’s Signal of Support for Uneconomic Canadian Power Line

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2020
Contact: Joe Shahen, joseph.shahen@ippny.org, (518) 810-2608

IPPNY Responds to Gov. Cuomo’s Signal of Support for Uneconomic Canadian Power Line
In-State Renewable Developers Ready to Meet State’s Priorities

Albany, NY – In his update this morning on the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo stated that New York must prioritize infrastructure buildout, including more renewable energy resources. Among the projects he is looking to prioritize is a transmission line that would transport hydropower from Canada to New York City.

The Governor’s remarks are no doubt a reference to the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) transmission line. The CHPE line, which is estimated to cost more than $3 billion, would move large-scale impoundment hydro underground from Quebec to NYC. This line is both unnecessary, given in-state developer demand, and provides no environmental benefit. In January, IPPNY released a technical study conducted by Energyzt demonstrating that the purchase of hydropower over CHPE will not result in reduced global emissions of carbon dioxide – and may even increase overall carbon emissions. While the line would not provide a true emissions reduction benefit, it would allow the Canadian government to play a shell game with its existing sales of hydroelectricity, taking advantage of higher energy prices in the City to increase its bottom line. The Energyzt study is available here.

IPPNY President and CEO Gavin J. Donohue said, “The toll of the coronavirus pandemic has been evident in nearly every facet of our lives. Seeing the unemployment numbers here and around the country, and knowing many of these jobs are not coming back, has been particularly harrowing. That is why we need to prioritize putting New Yorkers back to work, generating critical jobs and taxes for communities. Spending more than $3 billion to support the profiteering of a Canadian company on a project that will not revitalize the State’s economy and will not actually provide an environmental benefit is a mistake. Expanding New York’s own renewable energy industry will allow for guaranteed emissions reductions while creating in-state jobs.”

In addition to his comments on the CHPE line, Governor Cuomo signaled support for building renewable resources upstate with transmission lines to satisfy the demand for power downstate.

Donohue continued, “The Governor is right – this is a time to build critical infrastructure that has previously only been words on a press release. New York State has given Renewable Energy Credit awards to 67 projects totaling 4,315 megawatts over the last three years. That is the type of in-state development that will help kick our economy into gear. New, in-state transmission will also be necessary to unlock the full potential of these projects and should be the priority. Getting renewable projects sited and built in our state has been extremely difficult, but the State’s new siting law will help expedite the process to build our renewable energy industry. These are positive steps New York has taken and it should be clear: subsidizing Canadian government-owned hydropower pales in comparison to investing in our own communities.”

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