February 16, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion and Energization of New Underwater Power Transmission Cables Along Bottom of Lake Champlain

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Completion and...

Plattsburgh to Vermont Transmission Line Helps to Improve Resiliency, Reliability of New York's Power Transmission System; Supports Digitization

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Project Video Available Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion and energization of a $68.7 million major power system infrastructure project involving the placement of new underwater transmission cables, spanning 1.7 miles across Lake Champlain. The new power cables, laid as much as 195 feet below the lake's surface, allow power flow to and from Vermont and improved power communications systems. The project supports Governor Cuomo's energy policy to modernize the power grid while also building infrastructure that supports the addition of more clean and renewable energy to the state energy mix. The project is yet another milestone in Governor Cuomo's Energy Highway map for reliable, resilient power transmission, and helps to realize the Governor's Clean Energy Standard goal for 50 percent of the State's electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

"This ambitious transmission project will provide a vital upgrade and strengthen our clean energy economy," Governor Cuomo said. "New York will continue to make proactive investments to our power system infrastructure, creating a power grid that can continue to supply affordable, reliable energy."

The new 1.7-mile section of submarine cable is part of the eight-mile long Plattsburgh to Vermont 20, PV-20, transmission line that is jointly owned by the New York Power Authority and Vermont Electric Power Company. The new section uses several of the latest technological advances, including fiber-optic cables for detecting adverse conditions of the line, supporting greater situational awareness, and data sharing between NYPA and the Vermont Electric Power Company. These advances will help to meet the Governor's directive for NYPA to become a fully digital utility that can help meet the needs of a 21st century sustainable, energy-driven economy.

The interstate power line provides a critical safety and resiliency feature for both New York and Vermont, preventing the spread of blackouts in both states and permitting greater access to renewable energy and expanded energy markets. It carries hydropower from NYPA's St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project, part of which flows to neighboring states under federal law.

The project, which kicked off formally in 2013, involved the replacement of seven existing cables with four new cables. Several of these cables date back to 1958 and had reached the end of their useful lives. The utilities shared the cost of the complex effort which NYPA managed. The project involved drilling holes through bedrock up to 24 hours per day to avoid disturbance to the shoreline habitat, remotely operating underwater vehicles, cable laying vessels and divers, and was supported by several firms, including L.S. Cable America, Caldwell Marine International, ECI Drilling, Northline Utilities, Mott MacDonald and CHA Consulting.

The new cables will operate at the same 115-kV voltage as the old lines, but have the ability to operate at 230-kV voltage if a higher voltage is needed in the future due to increased demand. The project also involved the construction of new power transition stations on either side of the lake to accommodate the high voltage cables and connect to the land-based portions of the PV-20 lines which run from Beekmantown, N.Y. to Milton, Vt. 

NYPA Trustee Eugene L. Nicandri said "I'm proud of the Power Authority's focus on asset management and the investments it is making in New York's energy future—an energy future that is both cleaner and more resilient. NYPA has shown again and again that it can complete complicated infrastructure projects on time and on budget. This PV-20 is yet another example of the great work that NYPA does. I'm also happy that the effort involved awarding contracts to many businesses, including several from Northern New York."

NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "The replacement of this transmission line is yet another milestone in helping New York's State meet its clean energy targets. In addition to the challenges inherent in managing underwater transmission projects, the effort was buffeted by bad weather and other logistical issues, but still managed to be completed and powered up on time. This accomplishment is a credit to NYPA's Operations team and its can-do spirit."

The submarine route connects NYPA's Cumberland Head Transition Station on the New York side of Lake Champlain and the Vermont Electric Power Company's Grand Isle/Gordon's Landing Transition Station in Grand Isle, Vermont. The line of ownership remains at the NY-VT border, in the deepest point of Lake Champlain at the point where the lines cross. NYPA is responsible for maintenance of the new cable system.

The project is part of the Power Authority's $726 million Transmission Life Extension and Modernization program in Northern, Central and Western New York.

Removal of the old cables from the lake bottom and the dismantling of the former transition stations is scheduled to begin this spring.

Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chair, Senator Joseph Griffo said, "This bi-state effort to replace old transmission lines, which have reached the end of their useful lives, with modern, more technologically sound cables is a good example of what our state should be focused on when it comes to transmission upgrades. I am hopeful that this is the first of many successful transmission upgrades that will enhance New York's energy grid and allow cleaner power to reach more homes and businesses in an efficient and cost-effective manner."  

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 730 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter@NYPAenergy, FacebookInstagramTumblr and LinkedIn.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office