By Dan Heath, Press-Republican, January 29, 2016
A transmission line proposed from Beekmantown to New Haven, Vt., would be used to deliver electricity generated by a new wind farm proposed in northern Clinton County.
It also carries the promise of hundreds of jobs and other economic impacts.
Massachusetts-based Anbaric is working with National Grid to gain approval for the $600 million Vermont Green Line, an underground high-voltage direct-current line.
It would include a 37,500-square-foot converter station near Jersey Swamp Road and about six miles of underground cable in the Town of Beekmantown.
The cost is estimated at $176,000,000 to $188,000,000 for this portion of the project.
The next 40 miles of the line would be buried four feet below the bottom of Lake Champlain and emerge near Hawking Bay, northeast of Ferrisburg, Vt.
The last 13 miles of underground cable would connect to another convertor station in New Haven, Vt., and then be sent to the grid in Massachusetts.
Chicago-based Invenergy is seeking approval for its Bull Run Wind Energy Center in the towns of Clinton, Ellenburg, Mooers and Altona.
That project would use between 50 and 100 wind turbines to produce up to 300 megawatts of electricity.
Invenergy has agreed to supply the electricity produced by the wind farm using the Vermont Green Line.
That would be supplemented by hydropower from HydroQuebec, as needed, to supply up to 400 megawatts around the clock.
The agreement is in response to a request for proposals from the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to bring in more clean energy. Legislation in those states encourages the move from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.
North Country Chamber of Commerce Garry Douglas said the chamber supports both proposals. “The North Country Chamber is fully joined with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council in making our region a growing center or production for renewable energy,” he said. “Wind is a key component of this economic strategy, and the partnership of these two projects presents an extraordinary opportunity to increase our production while also building connections to new markets,” he said.
“These two projects together will enhance the North Country’s current role and future attractiveness as a center for renewable energy, while directly leveraging an extraordinary capital investment with all of the quality construction jobs that will accompany the two projects, and bringing decades of benefit to area taxpayers.
The Bull Run project is expected to create about 250 construction jobs, while the Green Line project would bring about 300 jobs for the Beekmantown portion.
Invenergy has stated it expects to bring an annual economic impact of $5.1 million in the taxing jurisdictions where the Bull Run project would be built.
That includes $2.4 million a year in payments in lieu of taxes, $2 million a year in leases to property owners and $700,000 to local fire departments.
Vermont Green Line Devco has requested a 16-year PILOT agreement from the County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency.
The project would pay 25 percent of its property taxes in the first year, which would increase by 5 percent each year of the agreement.
The PILOT payments to Clinton County, Town of Beekmantown and Beekmantown Central School District would total $57.5 million over 16 years, which would save the developers $31.5 million during the course of the agreement.
Both projects are in the process of seeking federal and state approval.
Invenergy has started the Article 10 review process and hopes to have its approvals in place to start construction in mid-2018.
Permitting for the Green Line project is expected to take up to two years, followed by a two-year construction period. That would put the system online in late 2019 or 2020.