Cos. Evaluate Line to Canada
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
"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
"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