We officially announced today that the project’s expected in-service date has been modified to 2016, with construction expected in the 2014 – 2016 time frame, compared to the initial range of 2013 – 2015 .
Our goal has been to locate the line within existing rights of way, as much as possible, and to minimize potential impacts for residents and communities. We listened to residents’ input and concerns, and determined that an alternative route is appropriate in the area north of Groveton, and that it can be developed without any increase in the project cost or benefits. The only change is in the construction schedule.
The project expects to announce the new preferred route for that area later this year. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy has left open the project’s public comment period and announced that it will remain open for at least 45 days following the announcement of the new preferred route.
Despite the date change, the project will still add more than $25 million a year in local property tax revenue to the communities along its route and add 1,200 jobs during a three year construction period. When in service, it will also reduce the region’s wholesale electric costs by hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 5 million tons a year.