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Great Lakes Article:

Power Cos. Evaluate Line to Canada
Associated Press
Posted 10/24/2002

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A planned underwater power line to link electrical power grids in the United States and Canada is on hold while developers search for a company to buy transmission rights to the line.

The proposed Lake Erie Link calls for up to three 325-megawatt lines from Nanticoke, Ontario, to locations on the U.S. shore of Lake Erie, between 70 miles and 90 miles away.

The lines would let Canadian power plants pump excess electricity to the United States when demand is high in the summer. During the winter, when Canadians want more power, the link would let U.S. plants send surplus power the other way.

But the companies that own the proposed line - TransEnergie U.S. and Hydro-Quebec Power Co. - say they haven't found a company to buy the transmission rights.

"The project is not dead, but is delayed," said Michel Ernst, a spokesman for Lake Erie Link LLC, a subsidiary of TransEnergie, which is owned by Hydro-Quebec.

The company wants to assess the project's cost - which could be up to $100 million - and the market value of the electricity to be transmitted. Lake Erie Link plans to own the cable system, but would sell the right to transmit electricity on the line and would not act as a broker for that electricity, Ernst said.

"We will not proceed with construction until we have a large company agreeing to purchase the transmission rights," Ernst said.

Ernst said it could take until the end of 2003 to re-evaluate the economics of the project. In the meantime, the project's developers have asked U.S. and Canadian regulators to halt their approval reviews of the project.

Some environmental groups, including Great Lakes United, have said the project could stir up polluted sediments on the lake bottom. They also contend the project could fuel air pollution because Canada has a large coal-fired power plant in Nanticoke.

Ernst dismissed those concerns.

"Much of the power that would be imported from Canada would not be (fueled by) coal," Ernst said. "About half of Canada's power is nuclear and about a quarter is hydro. We would obtain power from wherever it was available at the least cost and the next available plant."

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