Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest private-equity firm, won approval from state regulators for a $2.2 billion power line that would bring electricity to New York City from Quebec.
The New York Public Service Commission unanimously approved the 333-mile (531-kilometer) Champlain Hudson Power Express at a meeting in Albany today. The line, which would stretch from the Canadian border to Astoria, Queens, would be able to deliver 1,000 megawatts of electricity, about 10 percent of the city’s needs. The project would send mostly hydropower from Quebec, the commission said.
Hydro-Quebec, the provincial-owned utility, may buy 75 percent of the line’s capacity for as many as 40 years, according to a commission document. Average power prices for residential customers in Montreal were 6.76 Canadian cents (7 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour last year, less than a third of New York’s 22.57-cent average, according to Hydro-Quebec. Exported power accounted for 15 percent of the utility’s net income in 2011.
The project, expected to begin operating in 2017, consists of two 5-inch (13-centimeter) diameter cables that will be buried underground and underwater, according to the project website.
Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED), owner of New York’s electric utility, supports the project after initial opposition, according to the commission document. Entergy Corp. (ETR), owner of the Indian Point nuclear station, is among some New York power producers that oppose the proposal, saying it isn’t needed.
The project still requires a presidential permit, similar to the one needed for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, since it crosses an international border. Blackstone also needs permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lay the cable, according to the commission.
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