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New York clears $4.5bn plan to bring hydropower to big apple

© BloombergThe Rio Tinto Plc Isle-Maligne hydropower plant stands in this aerial photograph taken over Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. This picturesque corner of French-speaking Canada epitomizes the potential fallout of a trade war after the Trump administration's shock move to tax Canadian metal on the pretext of national security.
The Rio Tinto Plc Isle-Maligne hydropower plant stands in this aerial photograph taken over Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. This picturesque corner of French-speaking Canada epitomizes the potential fallout of a trade war after the Trump administration's shock move to tax Canadian metal on the pretext of national security.

Regulators approved a $4.5 billion transmission line that will deliver Canadian hydropower to New York City, a key component of the Empire State’s efforts to eliminate carbon from its power grid by 2040.

The 339-mile (546-kilometer) Champlain Hudson Power Express is expected to be complete in 2025, according to a statement Thursday from New York Governor Kathy Hochul. The Public Service Commission also approved Clean Path NY, a project comprising more than 20 wind and solar farms and a second transmission line.

The biggest U.S. city gets about 85% of its electricity from burning fossil fuels, and efforts to use more renewables have been hindered by a lack of transmission lines. The two projects, the largest approved in the state in 50 years, are expected to reduce that reliance by more than 50% in 2030.

“Today’s historic decision by the Public Service Commission is a game-changer for New York’s transition away from fossil fuels,” Doreen Harris, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said in the statement.

The Champlain Hudson line was approved despite the objections of environmental group Riverkeeper, which had once supported the project.

In a statement Thursday, Riverkeeper President Tracy Brown said the group was “disappointed” in the commission’s decision and would continue advocating that rivers “are not unnecessarily sacrificed in the essential rapid transition to clean energy.”

The Champlain Hudson line will carry 1,250 megawatts of electricity from hydropower facilities in Canada owned by Hydro-Quebec, enough for more than 1 million New York homes.

“This decision has New York State and Quebec taking one giant step together towards climate progress with a project that is a model for equitable clean energy infrastructure,” Hydro-Quebec Chief Executive Officer Sophie Brochu said in an emailed statement from Transmission Developers Inc., the Blackstone-backed company behind the power line.

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