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King Neptune

Consultant Ed Krapels makes waves with undersea transmission.

Fortnightly Magazine - May 2007

“Make no small plans,” the saying goes, and consultant Ed Krapels has taken that to heart.

Krapels and his partners began in 1999 to dream about a huge undersea electric transmission line, running under the Atlantic Ocean from Canada to Manhattan, that would dwarf anything seen before or since. And today, nearly a decade later, Krapels still holds to his vision: Bring significant quantities of renewable energy south from Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and inject that capacity directly into the congested downtown local grids of America’s large East Coast cities. Who could find fault with that?

Though the dream, to be known as Project Neptune, still lives, Krapels and his partners since have found it prudent to scale back a bit. They first envisioned a single monster 4,800-MW direct-current project, running hundreds of nautical miles, with intermediate stops into the Boston area (where Krapels and the ESAI consultants work) and Southern Connecticut, plus a 1,200-MW bi-pole terminating in New York City. Several years on, with Enron and the standard market design now both dead in the water, the Neptune project has morphed into three smaller and discrete projects, each a high-voltage, direct-current undersea line.

The first, the Neptune Transmission Project, nearly complete and in service, runs from Sayreville, N.J., to Long Island, N.Y. (660 MW, with 51 miles underwater, 65 miles total), bridging the PJM Interconnection with the New York Independent System Operator (ISO). The second, the Hudson Transmission Project (not to be confused with an older project called “Cross-Hudson,” abandoned by PSE&G in 2005), will run under the Hudson River from Bergen N.J. to West 49th Street, Manhattan. The third and newest proposal, known as the Green Line, or the New England Independent Transmission Co. (ITC) Project, would run from the site of the former Maine Yankee nuclear plant, in Wiscasset, Maine, to NStar’s 345-kV K St. substation near the Boston waterfront (660 MW, 140 miles underwater).

Fortnightly: I understand that you have some “skin” in the Green Line. Is that correct?

Krapels: I do. I am the chairman. I have a partner, Ed Stern, who is also the CEO of Neptune, and also the CEO of the Hudson project.

Fortnightly: Are those two projects—Hudson and Neptune—further along than the Green Line, also known as the New England ITC project?

Krapels: Yes. Neptune is actually in the very last month of construction. And it will go into service, God willing, July 1 of this year. The cable is laid. The converter stations are built. It is actually on budget and on schedule, which is a rare thing for a transmission line.

Hudson is not that far along. It was selected by the New York Power Authority for delivering 500 MW of capacity into New York City. But Hudson is still in the process of going through all of its permits and interconnection procedures within PJM. It is probably a year away from start of construction.

Green Line is behind

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