Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction on 339-Mile Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Line to Bring Clean Energy to New York City
Major Project Labor Agreement Executed with New York State Building and Construction Trades to Ensure Line is Constructed by Union Workers
November 30, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul today celebrated the start of construction of the 339-mile Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line, being developed by Transmission Developers Inc, to deliver reliable clean energy from Hydro-Québec in Canada directly to New York City. The construction of this green infrastructure project, which begins following the execution of a major union labor agreement between the developer and New York State Building and Construction Trades, is expected to bring $3.5 billion in economic benefits to New Yorkers while creating nearly 1,400 family-sustaining union jobs during construction. Today's announcement accelerates progress to achieve New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to obtain 70 percent of electricity statewide from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid.
"As construction begins on this project to help deliver clean energy to New York City, our state is setting yet another example of what climate action looks like," Governor Hochul said. "The Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line is a monumental step toward protecting our environment and creating family-sustaining, green jobs in both upstate and downstate New York. In partnership with union labor, this green infrastructure project will bring billions of dollars in economic benefits to our state and will pave the way for cleaner air and a healthier future for all New Yorkers."
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said, "The Champlain Hudson Power Express is a powerful example of the infrastructure that President Biden and Governor Hochul are committed to bring to New York and America. The project is expected to deliver clean, affordable, and reliable power while creating good-paying, union jobs."
Champlain Hudson Power Express is the first of two historic projects to start construction under the State's first-of-its-kind renewable energy and transmission program, known as Tier 4, that is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The program aims to responsibly deliver a significant increase of renewable energy to New York City, an area of the state that relies on aging fossil fuel-fired generation located largely in underserved communities, experiences the most significant air quality issues and health impacts from fossil fuel emissions, and has a marked need for improved grid reliability and resiliency. Once completed, Champlain Hudson Power Express will deliver 1,250 megawatts of clean hydroelectricity, enough to power over one million homes, and 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 transmission line is expected to be fully operational in the spring of 2026.
This milestone comes after the New York State Public Service Commission approved [PDF] the project's first Environmental Management and Construction Plan for a 17.6-mile stretch of the transmission route between Putnam and Whitehall. The initial stage of construction activities, including site preparation and construction of a laydown yard, will begin in Washington County, near Whitehall, and is anticipated to continue through November 2024. A map of the transmission line can be found here .
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO, and Climate Action Council Co-Chair, Doreen M. Harris said, "With construction beginning on the Champlain Hudson Power Express project, we are helping solidify New York's transition away from fossil fuels and demonstrate to the nation how strategic private-public partnerships can help us tackle some of our toughest energy challenges head-on. As the first of two historic transmission developments to break ground, Champlain Hudson Power Express is helping to usher in the grid of the future - all while New York continues to build the most robust public renewables pipeline in the nation that will power homes and businesses for years to come."
Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, "I applaud Governor Hochul's commitment to develop projects such as Champlain Hudson that reinforce the backbone of our energy system. In addition to helping ensure a clean energy future, projects such as these are strengthening the safety and reliability of the transmission system. As such, Champlain Hudson will play a key role in our comprehensive plan to modernize our state's transmission system so that it delivers clean energy to all New Yorkers, while advancing our climate goals and creating clean-energy jobs."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "Congratulations to Governor Hochul and partners for continuing to accelerate New York's transition to a greener future with this exciting clean energy milestone. The transmission line is the latest in a series of significant, generational investments to advance renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and hydroelectric that will help us meet our ambitious climate goals while supporting local jobs and helping deliver clean energy to consumers across New York State."
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner and Climate Action Council Member Roberta Reardon said, "Union labor continues to play an integral role in our clean energy transition. The Champlain Hudson Power Express project will create union jobs, power over a million homes, and maintain New York State's leadership in the clean energy sector."
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The future of clean and renewable energy is happening right now in the Empire State thanks to Governor Hochul's bold leadership, which is creating exciting new job opportunities and ensuring a sustainable future for all New Yorkers. We all have a role to play under New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and this project is one that is as ambitious as it is feasible. Importantly, it will help our state meet our climate goals set forth in the law and bring forth a green energy economy that will serve generations."
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "The Champlain Hudson project will bring a new era of reliable and sustainable clean energy to New Yorkers. I applaud Governor Hochul for her vision to bring projects such as the Champlain Hudson to New York that will modernize the energy systems in the State and bring clean energy jobs to New Yorkers, for present and future generations, while offering a new vision of environmentally friendly and advanced energy delivery in our state."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "The Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line will help advance Governor Hochul's ambitious clean energy goals for New York State, while also creating nearly 1,400 jobs for New Yorkers. The transmission line is 339 miles long, but the $3.5 billion in economic benefits it represents goes much further in terms of both renewable energy and New York's sustainable future."
Ensuring the project results in quality, family-sustaining jobs for New Yorkers, Champlain Hudson Power Express's contractors, Kiewit, NKT, and Hitachi are executing project labor agreements with electrical and building trade unions for the line's construction by union workers. Covering more than 15 different local union chapters across 22 separate trade disciplines, the project labor agreements are expected to total more than three million work hours combined. In October, the unions and the Champlain Hudson Power Express project team agreed to the first PLA, reflecting almost two million of those labor work hours with work expected to begin in late 2022. Among the trades participating in the 147 mile upstate underground portions of the project are Operating Engineers, Laborers and Teamsters. During the project construction, the contractors have committed to making efforts to employ Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and utilize Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses including focused efforts to include members of disadvantaged communities in the labor force throughout the project areas. Additional project labor agreements are expected to be executed in the coming months for the submarine portion of the transmission line, as well as the construction of Champlain Hudson Power Express's converter station in Astoria, Queens.
Champlain Hudson Power Express continues to conduct stakeholder and community engagement meetings to inform the public about its construction and operational activities. As the project progresses, Champlain Hudson Power Express will work with the unions and training programs to promote training and apprenticeship opportunities for workers in underserved communities. In addition to these efforts, the Champlain Hudson Power Express Green Economy Fund has been established to provide $40 million for climate industry training programs, designed to further stimulate new career opportunities for local and underserved communities along the planned route with a focus on building skills to succeed in the evolving green economy. Opportunities for secondary jobs becoming available as a direct result of this project will be advertised on the Champlain Hudson Power Express website and promoted through partnerships with local community leaders and civic organizations.
CEO of Hydro-Québec Sophie Brochu said, "This new transmission line linking the largest generator of clean renewable energy in North America with New York City will change the energy landscape of our entire region. The CHPE is, in a way, a conduit for many meaningful things - large volumes of hydroelectricity to reliably power homes and businesses without burning fossil fuels to do so; a community investment approach which is grounded in principles of social justice and new partnerships with Indigenous communities, such as our Mohawk friends from Kahnawà:ke, who are with us here today. Decarbonization is our common goal, and we intend to continue to be your ally, supplying climate-friendly energy to New York for many more decades to come."
Transmission Developers CEO Donald Jessome said, "This is a moment more than a decade in the making, as we officially begin construction on a transformational project that will play a major role in helping New York achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals. Reaching the groundbreaking for CHPE is the culmination of the tireless efforts of so many who believed in this project over the years, from public officials, to community partners, business organizations, labor unions and environmental groups, who all made important contributions to this process, demonstrating how to make large-scale, complex energy initiatives a reality. We look forward to continuing our hard work to deliver this clean energy transmission project and its wide-ranging benefits to New York."
"We are excited to be breaking ground on this transformative project," said Blackstone Senior Managing Director Bilal Khan. "Soon, CHPE will provide large scale economic benefits for New York State, create clean energy jobs and help support the transition to a greener future by bringing renewable power to New York City.”
Ohénton :iente ne Ratitsénhaienhs Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said, "The Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawks) of Kahnawà:ke have a strong personal attachment to the city of New York, as generations of ironworkers from every Kanien'kehá:ka community helped build several buildings and bridges that form the city skyline. Now, as a partner with Hydro-Quebec, we're delivering clean and renewable energy to the city. This equates to the supply of electricity to power a million homes, reduces harmful carbon emissions and improves air quality. As Kanien'kehá:ka people, we are always mindful of the seven generations to come - this partnership solidifies efforts towards a cleaner environment, while creating more opportunity for Kahnawà:ke to carry out our responsibilities as stewards of the environment."
President of The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York Gary LaBarbera said, "If New York is to maintain its leadership in green infrastructure, it is critical that we can continue to invest in development that not only spearheads these initiatives, but also creates good paying union jobs in the process. Today's groundbreaking represents the beginning of yet another infrastructure project that will act as a stimulus for New York's economy and achievement of our clean energy goals. We look forward to working with CHPE and the State to provide skilled union tradesmen and tradeswomen who will effectively complete this project all while having the opportunity to pursue a middle-class career with benefits."
General Secretary-Treasurer and New England Regional Manager, Laborers' International Union of North America, Armand E. Sabitoni said, "It is great to see the Champlain Hudson Power Express getting underway - a project which will transform the supply of clean energy in New York City while committing to using millions of hours of union labor. On behalf of our over 500,000 members, I congratulate New York State and the CHPE team on today's important milestone."
President of the New York State Conference of Operating Engineers Thomas A. Callahan said, "The International Union of Operating Engineers is proud to be working on this transformational project. The Champlain Hudson Power Express is a one-of-a-kind energy project which will create major economic impact throughout New York State and beyond. It will create hundreds of good union jobs that will help local workers support their families. Congratulations on today's groundbreaking to the Governor and all the agencies and organizations responsible for moving this important project forward!"
Champlain Hudson Power Express will provide an economic boost to 73 municipalities and 59 school districts throughout New York State with an increase in incremental tax revenue of $1.4 billion in funding for local communities over the first 25 years of the project. In the coming weeks, Champlain Hudson Power Express will begin to disburse funding of nearly $30 million, including:
- $12 million to industrial development agencies in counties hosting the transmission line
- The first $12 million through its $117 million Environmental Trust Fund to finance projects that enhance New York's eastern corridor waterways
- The first $2.5 million to kickstart the $40 million Green Economy Fund to support workforce development and training initiatives in underserved communities
- $2 million to support the construction of the Randall's Island Nature Center and Queens Variety Boys and Girls Club STEM lab/programming.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express and Clean Path NY contracts were approved by the Public Service Commission in April 2022, making them the largest transmission infrastructure developments in New York State in the last 50 years. Together, these projects are capable of generating an expected 18 million megawatt-hours of clean energy per year, or more than a third of New York City's annual electric consumption, while delivering up to $5.8 billion in net societal benefits statewide, inclusive of greenhouse gas reductions and air quality improvements and 10,000 family-sustaining jobs statewide with $8.2 billion in economic development investments, including in disadvantaged communities.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, "This is a historic day in the city's and state's mobilization against climate change and a nation-leading win for environmental justice. I applaud the Commission, NYSERDA, and Governor Hochul for taking bold action to end the disparate access to renewable energy that has plagued our city for far too long. The completion of the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line will enable the closure of some of the oldest and most polluting power plants in the state, which are located near communities whose residents suffer disproportionately from respiratory and cardiovascular disease. This project is also a major investment in the green economy, with its creation of family-sustaining union jobs, which will help create a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable New York City."
Washington County Administrator Melissa Fitch said, "The CHPE project is a tremendous opportunity for Washington County and its effects will most certainly benefit our residents for years to come!"
Village of Whitehall Mayor Julie Egan said, "I am proud and excited Whitehall will be part of this project to increase the use of renewable energy in New York State. I am also thankful the economy of the Village of Whitehall will benefit for years to come. The construction phase will offer local jobs right here in Washington County and a boost to local businesses. In the long-term our residents, students, and taxpayers will benefit for years to come through the projected PILOT funds. This project is a win-win and Whitehall is proud to be a part of it."
New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, "Hydropower has been a major source of New York's energy portfolio ever since we harnessed the currents of Niagara Falls over a century ago. The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds Governor Hochul for continuing this great tradition with the construction of the Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Line. Delivering clean energy 300 miles to New York City—and delivering 1,400 union jobs in the process—is an Empire State-size feat we should all be proud of."
Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito said, "It is exciting that our transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy will not only clean our air and fight climate change but also help galvanize our economy. This critical transition necessitates that we cultivate our labor force in a way that advances our clean energy goals and lifts up hard working New Yorkers with good paying union jobs. In New York, we are making clean energy and great jobs a reality."
REBNY President James Whelan said, "With this groundbreaking New York is one step closer to a clean and more sustainable built environment that will have widespread benefits to our economy and public health. We thank Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for their leadership on this project and continued efforts to achieve the goal of the State's Climate Act."
Chair of Warren-Washington Industrial Development Agency Dave O'Brien said, "The transmission line being built by CHPE will bring a substantial benefit to Washington County over the course of the next thirty years. Not only will there be a benefit from the construction and purchase of materials and services alone, there will be $283 million in benefit packages and PILOTS paid to the villages, towns, school districts, and the county allowing the jurisdictions to make much needed major upgrades and improvements in schools, roads, and public facilities."
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2021, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.