A big fight is brewing over plans by the Canadian firm TDI to build a $2 billion power line that would feed low-cost, low-carbon hydro electricity from Quebec to consumers in New York City.
The project has drawn little opposition over the last two years. Environmental and historic preservation groups have generally praised the design, which would lay the 1,000 megawatt power cable under the waters of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.
But now upstate business groups and power generators are raising alarms about foreign competition that could edge out power generated by coal, natural gas, and hydro in New York.
Thirteen leading state Senate Republicans, including Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo, signed a letter opposing approval of — and any state subsidies for — the project.
“Our state’s resources should be used to create jobs in New York, rather than export them to a foreign country,” the senators argued.
TDI, which hopes to be on-line by 2016, has applied to be part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “energy highway” initiative, proposed during his state of the state address last March. Company president Don Jessome told Capitol Pressroom host Susan Arbetter this week that he still hopes to be included in that effort.
TDI argues that the project would cut electricity costs by $650 million a year in New York.
Hydro power is also carbon-neutral, when compared with coal fired plants, and it doesn’t require hydro-fracturing techniques needed to develop natural has reserves in New York’s Marcellus shale region.
On the other hand, a domestic power generation industry generally creates good, high-paying jobs.
So what do you think? Should we tap into Canada’s hydro power reserves, the same way that many groups want us to tap into that country’s big oil reserves? Should US power firms be forced to compete with international producers?
Or is this a job killer that will stifle energy development upstate? Comments welcome.