With undersea cable linking Canada to Manhattan, Project Neptune could remake the transmission biz.
Fire up your web browser and log on to your friendly neighborhood ISO. You'll be amazed what you can find.
Take New England, for example. When you open up the site for the Independent System Operator (ISO), look for the link marked "Transmission." Click on "New Interconnections." Then "Interconnection Study Status." Scroll on down till you see "Neptune HVDC Cable Project" in the second column. Your first tip off will come when you see column three, which lists project capacity at 4800 megawatts-about to times the capacity of the typical project shown in the queue. Something is clearly going on. Then skip over several columns to the right, where you'll see the project described as "Maine/Maritimes to Boston Area and CT South Shore."
You have found Project Neptune, a proposal to build a high-voltage (direct current) merchant electric transmission line that would run along the New England coast, under the Atlantic Ocean, from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and/or Maine, to landfalls in Boston, Connecticut, New York City, and New Jersey.
Hello private enterprise, goodbye ISO rigamarole. Amid all the hand wringing over blackouts in California, and whether they might spread to the East Coast, here is somebody who is actually doing something. With a planned completion date of first quarter 2004, Neptune could change the way the game is played-if the developers can pull it off.