Friday, May 18, 2012

The Champlain Hudson Power Express

Transmission Developers Inc. has proposed bringing hydro power into NYS from Quebec to serve mainly New York City and the power line would be mostly underwater and all of it hidden.  But immediately there is controversy on this novel idea and NYS politicians have already taken a major blow to the project.  Sen. George Maziarz introduced legislation, BILL NUMBER:S7391, to prohibit the use of eminent domain for projects that import power, rather than buying power from New York state power plants.
   “Imported power is the wrong choice for our state’s economy and the wrong choice for our energy future,” said Maziarz, (R)Newfane, Niagara County, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

Several of us question Sen. Maziarz's wisdom & position regarding the Champlain-Hudson Power Express (CHPE)  that would run this power line under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to bring 1,000 mw of Quebec hydro power to NYC. Sen. Ritchie of the north country takes the same position as Maziarz and about 15 other senators followed suit. One of our folks actually spoke with north country Sen. Ritchie's staffers and didn't get reasonable answers. 

We can't help but wonder who's paying off Maziarz - the wind companies or the labor unions? The CHPE is the biggest energy project ever to hit NYS (yes - bigger than Niagara), a 100% privately financed $2B effort, it bypasses the eastern NYS electrical infrastructure congestion, it would send clean, continuous, 100% renewable electric to NYC as DC current (gets converted to AC in NYC), would save NYC residents money on their power bills, no power lines to fret about, silent, completely out of sight, won't attract terrorists, will get NYC out of power trouble if their Indian Point nuke plant gets shut down and more. 

Senator Patty Ritchie is seen here with NY Ag.
Commish and industrial wind lease holder,
Darrel Aubertine, the former Senator.
 Ritchie was supported by Northern New York anti industrial
wind  voters who have often been given credit for
turning enough votes for her to defeat Aubertine.
Like many politicians, it now appears that she may
be nothing more than a "wind chime".


Now think of all the reasons why you can't accept wind energy and the CHPE avoids them. We're not sure yet where Cuomo stands on the CHPE or where NYSERDA stands either but no doubt they are listening closely to what's happening right now in the Maziarz dilemma. The wind companies have come out opposed to the CHPE so that is enough to make me a supporter of the CHPE project. Maziarz has made decisions lately that make me question where he stands on wind energy and if he's really on our side of the fence or in line with fellow Republicans. Although he's opposed to Great Lakes offshore wind Im not sure his wind opposition goes beyond that. He's already said he's not completely against wind energy. He was a co-sponsor & big supporter of the Power NY Act of 2011 (and Article X) that stole municipal home rule from New Yorkers regarding power plant siting - something that Cuomo had in the cards for a long time if you've read Cuomo's agendas published long before election day. 

I even question Maziarz actions going further back when he was supposed to have a public hearing questioning  NYPA's arrogant Richie Kessel's actions & behavior but cancelled the hearing after he (Maziarz) hurt himself in a fall and never rescheduled the hearing. The reasons why Maziarz and a few others won't support the CHPE project are weak and puts "possible" jobs ahead of the need for affordable electric power to downstate New Yorkers. I do not believe this power line will put any New Yorker out of a job. 

In addition to Patty Ritchie's lack of CHPE support there are 16 other NYS senators NOT backing the CHPE. Although we have not heard Gov. Cuomo speak directly about the CHPE by name, you have read into this comment he made prior to his election. In essence Cuomo does back power coming into NYS from Canada to NYC.

We need to do a better job of transmission. We need to get the power from upstate New York, from Western New York, low-cost power from Canada down to the metropolitan area of New York City. That’s basically a challenge of transmission lines.” – Andrew Cuomo, Hofstra/Newsday Gubernatorial Debate, October 18, 2010.  
Maziarz position on the CHPE now put's this promising power project in jeopardy. They seem to think its unacceptable to have Quebec making money off this project yet never consider the enormous transfer of American wealth into the hands of offshore wind turbine manufacturers paid for with 60% American taxpayer money  on a wind power project that may last 20 years!  
What is Maziarz, Ritchie and the other senators thinking????

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