NY State Selects Two Green Projects Valued at $8.2 Billion

John Jordan | September 21, 2021

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the two green energy project selections at an event in New York City on Sept. 20.

NEW YORK—In a major step to convert the state’s energy grid to green, New York State has selected two major green energy infrastructure projects that will cost $8.2 billion to develop and help bring wind, solar and hydropower from Upstate New York and Canada to New York City. The two projects involve a total of approximately 513 miles of transmission line that will both traverse the entire length of the Mid-Hudson Valley region. The two ventures, if they secure final approvals, will create approximately 10,000 jobs.

The construction building trades will also benefit from the two projects— Clean Path NY (CPNY) and Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) since the state will be requiring the two awarded contracts to “include prevailing wage provisions for all laborers, workers, and mechanics performing construction activities with respect to the construction of the projects. In addition, the project developers will be required to negotiate Project Labor Agreements among their construction contractors and a building and construction trade labor organization representing craft workers for the construction of the new transmission lines as well as for the construction of the new renewable energy generation resources that the developers and its affiliates build for this project in New York State.”

The selections were announced on Sept. 20 at an event held in New York City attended by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and a host of other state and city dignitaries.

The two projects will help reduce New York City’s reliance on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions and significantly improve air quality and public health in disadvantaged communities while accelerating progress to exceed New York’s goal for 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).

“New York’s communities are repeatedly facing serious consequences as a result of the devastation caused by the global climate crisis, and the stakes have never been higher as we deal with the economic and environmental destruction these extreme weather events leave behind,” Gov. Hochul said. “These transformative projects are a win-win—delivering thousands of new good-paying jobs throughout the state and attracting billions of dollars in private investment. They also help us turn the page on New York City’s long-standing dependence on fossil fuels and will ensure millions of New Yorkers, especially those living in our most vulnerable communities, can have the promise of cleaner air and a healthier future.”

“This is a transformative moment 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 to electricity from water, the wind, and solar will create thousands of good union jobs, improve the resilience and reliability of our power supply, and dramatically reduce our reliance on oil and gas electricity that dirties the air in our neighborhoods and endangers our planet.”

Combined, the awarded Clean Path NY (CPNY) project, developed by Forward Power (a joint venture of Invenergy and EnergyRe) and the New York Power Authority, and Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) project, developed by Transmission Developers, Inc. (backed by Blackstone) and Hydro-Québec will: produce approximately 18 million megawatt-hours of upstate and Canadian renewable energy per year, enough to power more than 2.5 million homes; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 77 million metric tons over the next 15 years, the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road; and provide $2.9 billion in public health benefits over 15 years that will result from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants.

CPNY and CHPE will invest approximately $460 million in community benefit funds to create pathways to green energy jobs, support public health, advance capital improvement projects, realize habitat restoration and improve the environmental footprint of buildings in disadvantaged communities.

The projects were selected for contract negotiation as part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Tier 4 renewable energy solicitation issued in January. Once finalized, NYSERDA will submit the negotiated contracts for these awarded projects to New York’s Public Service Commission for consideration and approval. If the Tier 4 contract is approved, NYSERDA payments under this award will not commence for each respective project until the project has obtained all required permits and local approvals, is constructed and delivers power to New York City, which is expected to begin in 2025 for CHPE and 2027 for CPNY.

CPNY’s 174-mile transmission line will run from the Fraser Substation in Delaware County to the Rainey Substation in Queens, utilizing a buried cable using existing rights-of-way, which will mitigate potential local community impacts, avoid sensitive habitats along the Hudson River, and be more resilient than above-ground alternatives in the face of severe weather and security threats.

CHPE is a permitted 339-mile buried cable, both underground and underwater, transmission line that runs from Hydro-Quebec’s wind and hydropower resources in the Province of Quebec to the Astoria Energy Center in Queens, NY and has adopted best management practices to avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental damages, including impacts on sensitive species and habitats.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said of the selection of the two projects, “Investing now in these major renewable energy infrastructure projects will bolster the state’s economic recovery at a time when New Yorkers truly need it and will accelerate our progress in providing clean, resilient, renewable energy to some of the state’s most densely-polluted and underserved communities.”

Hydro Quebec CEO Sophie Brochu and Transmission Developers CEO Don Jessome said, “We are honored that Quebec hydropower, delivered over our permitted, fully buried, construction-ready transmission project has been chosen to join other important renewable projects as the State and City work toward achieving their climate mandates. We commend Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for their clean energy leadership and we look forward to quickly delivering the project’s immense clean energy benefits and new jobs to State. We are deeply grateful for the many labor organizations, environmental stewards and municipalities throughout the state that have supported this project.”

Clean Path NY leaders Jeff Blau of energyRe, Michael Polsky of Invenergy, and Gil C. Quiniones of the New York Power Authority said, “Clean Path NY is the most significant U.S. renewable energy infrastructure investment in this century and a defining project for the advancement of clean energy in New York – one that will dramatically reduce carbon emissions, catalyze green jobs across the state, provide crucial environmental justice benefits and fundamentally change the way our State is powered. Pairing innovative wind, solar, and storage projects with state-of-the art transmission to bring clean energy directly to New York City, Clean Path NY will be a truly transformative renewable energy project.”

If approved, the CPNY and CHPE projects will add to New York’s existing pipeline of large-scale renewable energy, comprised of nearly 100 solar, land-based wind and offshore wind projects totaling 11,000 megawatts of clean power—enough to power more than five million homes when completed. The state’s commitment to building out new green energy transmission, led by 250 miles of new major upgrades already underway throughout the state and reinforced by this award will allow the current pipeline of renewables to power nearly 60% of New York’s electricity from renewable energy once operational.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth