Hertel‑New York interconnection line

You can still send us your questions and feedback about the project by leaving a message in the voicemail of the Info-Project line or by emailing us.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Frequently asked questions

Why was Hertel substation chosen as the starting point for the line?

Hertel substation is a robust facility, connected to the main 735-kV transmission system. It is located on a property with enough space to fit the additional equipment required to convert alternating current to direct current. All the new equipment will be installed on Hydro‑Québec property at Hertel substation, located on Chemin Lafrenière in La Prairie.

How did Hydro‑Québec select the final route?

For this project, Hydro‑Québec considered a number of variables, including:

  • The density of homes and businesses along the line route variants
  • Road traffic
  • The existence of bypass roads
  • Environmentally sensitive elements
  • Technical challenges
  • Land use
  • The suggestions, comments and concerns collected during the consultation

Hydro‑Québec makes every effort to integrate its projects harmoniously into the host environment. The impacts of each new project are balanced against the three pillars of sustainable development: social acceptability, environmental protection and economic development.

As a result, Hydro‑Québec has implemented a public participation process. It is a way for the company to take into account the concerns and expectations of stakeholders in order to adapt each project to local realities to the greatest extent possible, within the technical constraints dictated by the project.

How can I submit questions or concerns about the project?

You can submit questions or concerns at any time by calling the Info-Project line, at 1 877 653-1139, or by writing to ramrichelieu@hydro.qc.ca.

How does Hydro‑Québec determine the potential routes for an underground line?

Environmental experts first conduct surveys of the natural and human components in the study area to guide how potential routes are determined. In an underground line project, although environmental considerations are always taken into account, the line routing criteria have mainly to do with technical factors (underground space, presence of other infrastructure, clearance, etc.). Most environmental impacts are associated with the construction phase.

Will there be any restrictions on land use after the line has been commissioned?

Once the line is commissioned, traffic can resume on the right-of-way and farmland can be cultivated again.

Does an underground direct-current line produce electric and magnetic fields (EMFs)?

The electric and magnetic fields produced by direct current lines are known as “static,” meaning that they do not vary in intensity and direction every second.

Static electric fields

An underground direct-current line does not generate an electric field. Each conductor is wrapped in an insulator and a metal sheath, which block the electric field completely.

Static electric fields are found in nature. In the atmosphere, they can vary widely according to the whims of Mother Nature and whether the weather is nice or stormy. In addition, all living organisms have internal electric fields, which they need to keep their cells alive.

Static magnetic fields

Operation of the Hertel‑New York line will modify the Earth’s magnetic field for a few metres on either side of the line. This effect drops off very quickly with distance, and the variations remain within normal magnetic field strength values.

The Earth is surrounded by a permanent static magnetic field, which can be detected with a compass. This magnetic field is generated by the continuous electric currents generated by the movement of molten metal in the Earth’s core. The Earth’s magnetic field can be disrupted locally by large metal structures like buildings, vehicles, etc.

What are the estimated annual earnings for this new interconnection?

In September 2021, the project put forward by Hydro-Québec and its U.S. partner TDI was selected by New York State following a call for proposals. The contract to deliver 1,250 MW of clean electricity to New York City, enough to power more than one million homes, was finalized and submitted for approval in November 2021.

The agreement is a win‑win opportunity for Québec and New York. The expected revenues will generate significant benefits for Quebecers throughout the term of the contract. The infrastructure will create a direct connection to carry our clean and reliable energy to one of the world’s largest economies for several decades! New Yorkers will benefit from renewable electricity at a competitive price.

Power exports are profitable for Hydro‑Québec. For example, in 2021, electricity sales outside Québec contributed $865 million to the company’s net earnings, for a total of 35,6 TWh exported.

In addition, the climate benefits of the export project are tremendous. Delivering our clean energy to New York City will reduce fossil fuel generation.

This will reduce the city’s carbon emissions by approximately 3.9 million metric tons per year—the equivalent of taking 44% of the cars currently circulating in the streets of New York City off the road.

How deep into the ground will the line buried?

The line will be buried at a minimum depth of 1.2 metres (about 5 feet). The depth of the buried line could vary depending on the obstacles to be bypassed.

Specific construction methods will be used to work around obstacles (overpasses, waterways, etc.).

Where will the converter be located?

The converter will be installed at Hertel substation in La Prairie on Hydro‑Québec property.

Various scenarios are currently being considered for the specific location of the new equipment. The proposed expansion area is on the west side of the station. Consult the map.

Will the addition of the converter increase the noise level near Hertel substation?

All noise emissions will comply with the standards of Hydro‑Québec and the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.

The addition of the converter will increase the noise level by about 1 decibel. This is an increase that is not very noticeable to most people. The noise level will continue to comply with applicable standards. The SF6 circuit breakers that will be added are quieter than the old pneumatic circuit breakers.

Studies and simulations will be carried out as more detailed information regarding the new equipment to be installed becomes available. Acoustic screens may be considered if necessary.

Will there be impacts on local traffic during construction?

After the project design phase, we will be able to more accurately determine the impacts on traffic. We will implement all possible measures to reduce impacts and ensure the safety of road users and workers.

Hydro‑Québec will work with the relevant municipal authorities and the Ministère des Transports (MTQ) to ensure that vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic (including emergency vehicle access) can continue smoothly and safely alongside construction.

Hydro‑Québec also plans to hire a specialized company to manage traffic control and other required services, based on the common uses of the territory and activities carried out in the area.

How long will the work take?

The line will be built in segments. Under the current schedule, work would begin in the summer of 2023 and end in spring 2026. In some areas, the work schedule could be adjusted according to sensitive environmental considerations.

The work related to the installation of the new equipment at Hertel substation will be carried out over a period of approximately two years.

Have you considered other routes than those presented?

Routes along Highway 30, in an agricultural area (within the existing right-of-way of a Hydro‑Québec transmission line), along certain rail lines and under Route Édouard VII, in Saint-Philippe, were explored, and then dismissed because of the significant impact their use would have.

Can we still suggest improvements to the project?

You can still submit your comments by calling us at 1 877 653-1139 or by emailing us at ramrichelieu@hydro.qc.ca.

We will use the information collected to improve the project, and in particular to plan the mitigation measures applied during construction. With underground line projects, the impacts are mainly related to the construction phase. There are very few residual impacts.

Adjustments to the work on the ground can take various forms. For example, they can involve modification of the construction schedule or methods to adapt to specific situations.

How are the concerns expressed during public consultation activities integrated?

The concerns expressed have been integrated into the studies and analyses and will be presented in the environmental impact study that Hydro‑Québec will submit to the ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.

Will there be BAPE hearings for this project?

Yes. The project will be subject to the environmental impact assessment and review procedure stipulated in Chapter 1 of the Environment Quality Act. During this step, the project is submitted for review to Québec’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). Hydro‑Québec takes part in the information and consultation sessions.

If public hearings were to be held following a request for such a hearing deemed admissible by the relevant Minister, concerned individuals or groups will be invited to inform themselves about the project and then to file briefs presenting their position.

Is the project subject to a federal environmental assessment?

No. The project does not meet the cumulative criteria required to be subject to Canada’s Impact Assessment Act (IAA): involve a new international power line rated 345 kV or more that requires a new right-of-way that is 75 km or more in length.

However, the impact assessment will be filed with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) as part of the regulatory requirements for a permit to construct and operate the international interconnection line. The CER generally focuses its analysis on environmental impacts under federal jurisdiction (migratory birds, fish, etc.) and attempts to make maximum reference to the provincial process.