Updated 02/09/2012 07:43 PM
Study: Transmission line project will boost upstate economy
It's been billed as a way to bring clean electricity to New Yorkers, but a new study of the Champlain Hudson Power Express claims the project could also have huge economic benefits. Matt Hunter has more.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
PORT HENRY, N.Y. – "It's very bleak. I mean, our unemployment rate runs double digits for most of the time."
As Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava puts it, the recession hit the Adirondacks decades before the rest of the country. However, a new study suggests a proposed transmission line could provide some much needed economic relief.
"Any time you can create hundreds of jobs in the North Country is a good thing because we obviously need the employment opportunities here," Scozzafava said.
Transmission Developers, Incorporated is proposing to build the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a $2 billion, 333 mile underground and underwater transmission line that will start near the Canadian border at Lake Champlain and carry 1,000 megawatts of electricity south to New York City.
"It's kind of amazing that two of these in a buried ditch will be able to send 1,000 megawatts of power to New York City," said Transmission Developers Senior Vice President William Helmer, while holding a small cross section of the underground cable.
This week, the results of a study conducted by Boston based energy consultants London Economics and commissioned by Transmission Developers suggested the project could have widespread economic benefits, including the addition of more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs and an estimated $650 million a year in savings on New Yorkers electricity costs.
"Our message has been since the beginning that the project is going to have significant economic advantages for New York State and this just confirmed it," Helmer said.
During the peak of the construction phase in 2015, more than 600 jobs are expected to be added throughout New York, with the largest amount upstate.
Despite many of the new jobs being construction and therefore temporary, local officials say they still believe the project's impacts can be long lasting even if the boost to employment is not.
"It's still really boosting the local economy in all of these townships that border Lake Champlain," Scozzafava said.
Transmission Developers executives say once the project is complete, more than 2,400 permanent jobs could be added over a 10 year period, mostly due to savings on electric costs.
Now the project, which is slated to begin next year, must gain state and federal approval.