Construction begins on transmission line passing through Albany, Greene counties
Andrea Macko in Porcupine Soup reports that on Nov. 30 Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that construction has begun on the 339-mile underground Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line that will bring electricity from hydropower from Canada to New York City. Local communities get some money and a risk of environmental accidents. Locally, the transmission line mostly runs along the CSX Railroad right-of-way, and passes through Bethlehem, Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore, Coxsackie, and Catskill and then into the Hudson River. While their are environmental risks locally, the project supplies 1,250 megawatts of clean energy to New York City, enough to power over one million homes. Hochul's office says that will reduce carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons statewide, the equivalent of taking over half a million cars off the road every year. The Greene County Industrial Development Agency awarded the projects tax breaks, and the project will bring $15.7 million for Greene County, $3.1 million for the Town of New Baltimore, $1.9 million for the Town of Coxsackie, $1.7 million for the Village of Coxsackie, $1.2 million for the Town of Athens, $4.3 million for the Town of Catskill, and $2.1 million for the Village of Catskill. The Coxsackie-Athens Central School District would receive $29.5 million, while the Catskill Central School District is getting $27.5 million. The Riverkeeper environmental group is not enthused about the project. “This destructive project raises numerous concerns. There are better alternatives that have lesser impacts and far greater benefits.... The CHPE project fails to meet the most basic requirement of a clean energy project, because it will not directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it will continue to emit greenhouse gases after 2040, when New York’s climate laws require the electric grid to be emissions free,” a Riverkeeper statement says. “Adding insult to injury, this project would take up billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that should be paid to a project that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Construction on the transmission line is expected to be complete in 2026. Read more about this story at Porcupine Soup.