March 4, 2014 By Michael Florio
The amount of pollution emitted by Astoria’s big smokestacks is likely to taper off—as plans are in place to import cleaner energy from Canada to the Con Edison facility near 20th Avenue.
The plan calls for the construction of $2.2 billion, 333-mile-long cable that will be placed in water ways and under railroad lines from Canada to a Con Ed converter station in Astoria.
The cable, which is called The Champlain Hudson Power Express, is expected to be completed in 2017, and will deliver 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Quebec to the New York City grid. Construction will begin this fall.
Up to 60 percent of the New York City’s power supply comes from power plants in Astoria. Most of them are old fossil fuel plants, which pollute the air and create a health risk for local residents, experts say.
The new power supply should reduce the need for power generated by fossil fuels.
A Con Ed converter station will need to be built as part of the plan. It will cost $200 million to develop and is expected to bring 200 to 300 jobs to the Astoria area during the construction period, said Donald Jessome, CEO and President of Transmission Developers Inc.
The project, which is privately funded, is viewed positively by this area’s politicians.
“It means a lesser need for smoke stacks in our neighborhood,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris. “Every megawatt generated from the outside is one less megawatt generated in the city [Astoria].”
“I’ve spent over a decade fighting against the pollution,” Gianaris said.