Residents of the Addison County town of New Haven are learning more about a proposed new transmission line that would connect to the Vermont electric grid in their community.
The 60-mile, 400-megawatt project is called the Vermont Green Line, and would run mostly under Lake Champlain.
Anbaric Transmission has developed two similar power projects in New York. The principal investor is National Grid, an electric and gas utility that serves southern New England. The two are also collaborating on a transmission line in Maine.
The power companies want a path for New York wind power and Quebec hydro power into the regional grid. The Vermont Green Line would connect New York’s high voltage system to VELCO’s transmission line and essentially bring the power to the doorstep of the New England market.
The cable would be laid mostly in Lake Champlain. It would surface in Vermont near Kingsland Bay State Park and then run underground, encased in concrete for 13 miles to New Haven.
New Haven already hosts a VELCO power line and substation, and many residents are concerned about another large transmission project. The company has met with town officials over concerns about sound and aesthetics from a convertor station needed as part of the Green Line project, as well as lighting.
At a meeting last week, National Grid’s Joe Rossignoli said the utility has heard the town’s concerns. They’re backing off an earlier plan to install 800-megawatt cable for future expansion.
“This is a significant concession by the company. It would only cost a little bit more to put the 800-megawatt cable in the ground. It made a lot of sense to us; if you’re going to put something in the ground entrenched that we have that higher rating. However, we know that the town is concerned about this and quite frankly we’re giving up some commercial value too,” Rossignoli said.
The power companies have offered New Haven payments of up to $1 million per year for 20 years, as well as $3 million in funding for a new fire station. But Rossignoli said the town’s support is vital to the project. “We’re not interested in building this project unless New Haven supports it.”
Residents are still trying to learn more about the project, and they want to know how the select board will gauge their support, whether through a town-wide vote or other means. Select Board member Carole Hall told the group that no decisions have been made.
“What I am looking for is from you, what you want. I’m not exactly sure how to get that information, that is something the select board is figuring out how to do in the best way,” she said.
The companies hope to file for a certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board in March. The project would also need the approval of New York regulators. It it’s approved, a three-year construction project could begin in 2017.