ITC Lake Erie Connector LLC has announced that Canada’s Governor in Council has approved the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the ITC Lake Erie Connector transmission line.
The National Energy Board (NEB) issued the certificate on June 26. The NEB provided its initial recommendation of the certificate to Canada’s Governor in Council on January 19, 2017. The issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity completes the project’s major permit application process in Canada.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on May 25, 2017 issued two required permits for the project: a State Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permit, and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities. This completes the project’s major permit process in Pennsylvania, which ITC initiated on January 29, 2016.
The ITC Lake Erie Connector is a proposed 1,000 MW, bi-directional, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) underwater transmission line that would provide the first direct link between the markets of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM). The project would enable transmission customers to more efficiently access energy, capacity, and renewable energy credit opportunities in both markets.
“These are key milestones in the development of the Lake Erie Connector Project,” said Terry Harvill, president of ITC Grid Development. “We appreciate the thorough attention given to our application by the Governor in Council, the National Energy Board and the state of Pennsylvania. This electric transmission interconnection under Lake Erie would provide Ontario with access to a new, large export market for excess electricity generation, and this bi-directional line also would allow less expensive, clean energy to flow into the province from the U.S.”
In addition to the approval from Canada’s Governor in Council and the National Energy Board, ITC has received a Presidential Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy, which is necessary for international border-crossing projects. Major remaining project milestones include receiving approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completing project cost refinements, and securing favorable transmission service agreements with prospective counterparties, after which ITC would proceed with construction.
ITC has completed the necessary system impact studies in IESO and PJM, signed service agreements with the manufacturers of the converter stations and the submarine cable, and secured nearly all land necessary for the terrestrial cable route, converter stations and construction laydown areas. The company has held or participated in numerous public consultations in Ontario and Pennsylvania – the respective terrestrial points of the line – to discuss the project and gather community input.
The proposed ITC Lake Erie Connector is a proposed +/- 320 kV HVDC bi-directional transmission line, approximately 73 miles in length, that would connect converter stations located in Erie, Pennsylvania and Nanticoke, Ontario. A 345 kV alternating current (AC) line would connect the Erie converter station to Penelec’s existing Erie West substation, while a 500kV AC line would tie the Nanticoke converter station to Hydro One’s Nanticoke substation. The majority of the transmission line would be buried beneath Lake Erie or underground using existing roadway rights-of-way.