Developers are lining up to bring renewable power to southern New England as part of a regional initiative that guarantees a ratepayer-backed return on investment.
In response to a six-state strategy to bring more clean power to the region, a Massachusetts transmission company said it wants to bury a transmission line under Lake Champlain to connect industrial wind power in New York to a Burlington substation.
"It's a unique moment in time," said Edward Krapels, CEO for Anbaric Transmission, which is in the early stages of proposing the 40-mile project called the Grand Isle Intertie.
Governors of the six New England states announced a plan last year to bring up to 3,600 megawatts of renewable power to the region's power grid in order to meet higher renewable energy targets. This plan includes importing industrial wind and hydroelectric power from Canada and New York.
The states' initiative would set up a new financing scheme that provides a ratepayer-backed financial guarantee for projects approved through a competitive bidding process. The states will release the RFP by late summer, according to the Vermont Department of Public Service.
DPS Commissioner Chris Recchia said the state will not support any project that is not good for Vermont ratepayers. But environmental watchdog groups say it is unclear what effect the initiative will have on rates and the environment.
Sandra Levine, a senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, questions the initiative.
"We don't want to be using ratepayers' dollars to overbuild. That's a waste of money and it's harmful to the environment," she said.
Recchia said the states will hold public meetings to present the region's plan in preparation for bidding process. The meetings will include stakeholders, including environmental groups and developers.
Anbaric has filed with ISO New England and New York ISO, the regions' grid operators, for an interconnection permit, which can take more than a year to complete, the company said.