Governor Cuomo announced a series of measures today to jumpstart New York State's economy, including expediting construction of the power cable from Canada to New York City. But curiously the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY) question the value of this major clean energy infrastructure project.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express is the only project of its kind that has secured all of its permits – meaning it can come on line quickly and start delivering low-carbon electricity downstate in the near future. Big infrastructure projects like this have considerable economic benefits. Construction of this line will create over 2,000 jobs, and other economic sectors will benefit: those who feed and house the construction workers, and those who provide them with materials and transportation. Municipalities along the line route will benefit from millions of dollars in new tax revenues.
The energy pie is big enough for all the clean energy suppliers out there, including the members of IPPNY that generate low-carbon energy. Downstate New York needs clean energy: when the Indian Point nuclear station comes to a full closure next year, about 95% of its electricity will come from burning fossil fuels. That's not good for climate change, and it's catastrophic from a health perspective for people struggling with respiratory diseases.
Hydro-Québec generates 99.6% of its energy from low-carbon sources. Its deliveries of clean energy into New York mean less fossil fuel is burned. The estimated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from this project amount to 3.4 million metric tons per year. That's the equivalent of removing over one-quarter of the cars from NYC streets. And hydropower produces none of those air pollutants that are responsible for smog.
New York has taken a leadership role in the fight against climate change. Québec and New York have a long history of working together as neighbors. Side by side, we can make the air cleaner and reduce carbon emissions in New York, and that's good for everyone. Let's get this infrastructure project up and running as fast as we can.
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