Vermont Regulators Approve Power Line Under Lake Champlain

Jan 5, 2016

Vermont regulators granted permission Tuesday for a 154-mile power transmission line, known as the New England Clean Power Link, designed to bring hydroelectric power from Canada to southern New England.

The power line, which has not yet received federal approval, uses Vermont as a corridor. The cable route goes along the bed of Lake Champlain, then underground to a converter station in Ludlow, Vermont.

“After examining the evidentiary record, we find that construction of the project, subject to all of the conditions that we have discussed in this order, will result in significant economic, environmental, and electric benefits for the state of Vermont,” the Vermont Public Service Board’s 111-page order said.

There was very little resistance to the proposal in Vermont, especially after the project’s developer, TDI New England, promised $238.5 million to the state’s renewed Lake Champlain cleanup efforts.

In order to build the New England Clean Power Link, TDI New England also has to get approval from the federal government. The application for that permit got a boost last October, when the U.S. Department of Energy released its final environmental study on the project. The study found the project would have very little long-term environmental impact, and the Department of Energy formally endorsed its construction.

In Vermont, the Public Service Board’s order Tuesday requires that TDI New England comply with many of the agreements it forged with other interested parties, such as Conservation Law Foundation, Green Mountain Power and towns along the proposed route.

The board also required TDI New England to share its transmission contracts for the New England Clean Power Link so that regulators can ensure the link is, in fact, transmitting energy generated from renewable sources.

Another under-lake transmission line, known as The Green Line, is in the planning stages.