By Scott DiSavino
(Reuters) - The New York Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a plan to build the Champlain Hudson transmission line, which would be capable of moving 1,000 megawatts of hydropower from Quebec to New York City.
Privately held Transmission Developers Inc, whose lead investor is Blackstone Group LP, said on its website that it would take about 3-1/2 years to build the power line at an estimated cost of $2.2 billion.
Transmission Developers said it would use high voltage direct current technology for the line, which the PSC said would be like a big extension cord from Quebec to New York City.
The 335-mile (539-km) line will be built under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River and underground along railroad and other rights of way to minimize the visual and environmental impact.
The PSC staff said the project could provide up to 10 percent of the power used in New York City and would probably reduce power costs there and in the rest of the state.
Another bonus is that the project developers, not the state's electric ratepayers, will fund the power line's construction, the PSC said.
The PSC staff also said the line would reduce emissions by allowing reducing the amount of power the city generates at its oil and natural gas fired plants.
Transmission Developers said construction of the project would create an average of more than 300 jobs. The company also said on its website that the project might be in service by fall 2017.
Officials at Transmission Developers were not immediately available to discuss the next steps for the project.
The line will connect a Montreal area substation owned by Quebec power company Hydro-Quebec to a substation in Astoria, Queens, owned by New York power company Consolidated Edison Inc.
Hydro-Quebec will develop the part of the line located in Quebec.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Leslie Gevirtz and Lisa Von Ahn)