The proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is a 333-mile long 1,000 megawatt high voltage direct current (HVDC) power line consisting of bi-directional cables — two cables side by side running to and from Quebec to New York City.
Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity and hedge fund firms is the developer. It has created limited liability corporations and calls the developer “Transmission Developers Inc.” (TDI). The $3 billion project will create only 26 direct, full-time jobs for New Yorkers according to Blackstone’s 2014 environmental impact statement. The electricity will be generated by Hydro-Quebec at its 63 generating stations in remote areas of Quebec and Labrador. Hydro-Quebec is government-owned and one of the largest utilities in the Western Hemisphere.
In 2013, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a permit called a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the 333-mile cable. See the permit here: CHPE NYS PSC Case 10-T-0139 Since then, Blackstone has amended the permit three times. The project no longer resembles the project the PSC approved in 2013.
Blackstone cannot start construction of CHPE without a 25-year contract with a buyer for 75% of the electricity. At this time, no contract has been announced. Blackstone had used Brattle Group to solicit offers of interest for CHPE.
Since Earth Day Day 2019, Mayor de Blasio and his administration have been secretly negotiating to buy electricity from Blackstone via CHPE. We call on the Mayor’s administration to withdraw from negotiations with Hydro-Quebec and Blackstone and instead pursue energy efficiency and renewable energy options locally in New York City. The New York City building decarbonization law, Local Law 97, allows for building owners to procure Renewable Energy Credits (RECS) instead of actually reducing their emissions. NAMRA does not support this provision which will promote Renewable Energy Credits from megadams.
See October 15th, 2020 order adopting modifications to the Clean Energy Standard: NYS Clean Energy Standard Tier 4 (hydroelectricity from Canada)
On May 5, 2020, NAMRA signed onto the Peoples Climate Movement of New York released an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Diaz Jr., Lee, and Oddo, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and All Members of the NYC Council on the connection between the COVID-19 crisis, the climate crisis, and the bold next steps forward for the economic crisis. This letter asks New York leaders to commit to fighting the climate crisis in a fair, just, and equitable way.
On October 8, 2020, NAMRA joined the Center for Biological Diversity and the Innu of Labrador in filing a formal notice letter with the U.S. Department of Energy over its failure to fully address the environmental impacts of CHPE. This project would threaten endangered Atlantic Sturgeon Habitat in the Hudson River and also threatens Indigenous communities in Canada and their environment.
CHPE is not a fair, just, or equitable solution to the climate or economic crisis that New York faces. It places the burdens of American electricity use on the backs of front-line, Indigenous communities in Canada where this power is being produced by megadams.
May 27, 2020: NAMRA’s Response to Governor Cuomo’s proposal to import more Canadian hydropower and build a transmission corridor (CHPE) from Canada to New York:
On April 22, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio announced a Green New Deal for the City which includes negotiations towards Hydro-Quebec power from Canada. In a simultaneous press release, Hydro-Quebec embraced the chance to get the stalled CHPE project going.
CHPE is fraught with problems and NAMRA opposes the project on environmental and social justice grounds. Unfortunately, most of the permits are in place.
CHPE will cost an estimated $2.2 billion to construct. The project’s main investor is Blackstone Group, L.P., an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management, and financial services firm based in New York City. As the largest alternative investment firm in the world, Blackstone specializes in private equity, credit, and hedge fund investment strategies.
The $2.2 billion that will be invested in the Blackstone CHPE project is money that should be spent on local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects thus creating local, long-term, and sustainable jobs. Locking in this infrastructure for destructive Canadian hydropower creates a disincentive for innovative, local energy solutions. CHPE is a greenwash and climate disaster.
November 17, 2020: Religious Organizations Along the River (ROAR) objects to CHPE.
November 18, 2019: Hudson Riverkeeper withdraws support for CHPE.