Powering NYC into the 22nd Century


With the Champlain Hudson Power Express project

A transformative infrastructure project that will modernize New York City’s energy grid by supplying low-cost renewable hydropower to meet roughly 20 percent of the city’s energy requirements.

New York City, the most populous city in the United States and broadly viewed as the financial capital of the world, is also one of America’s greenest with a long track record of utilizing renewable energy sources. In 2021, the city ranked 5th among American cities for its energy efficiency policies with New York State ranking 5th in the nation in the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources the same year.

New York City and New York State continue to set ambitious clean energy goals, with the city targeting to transition its grid to 70-80 percent of electricity from renewable sources and the state calling for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent by 2030 and at least 85 percent by 2050.

However, to reach these ambitious energy transition goals, the city realized that it needed to address the lack of available sites to develop for renewable energy sources within the city and state as a whole. To solve this problem creatively, New York looked to Canada. The Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) is a more than 325 mile, HVDC transmission line that will transport 1,250 MW of clean, renewable hydropower directly to New York City.

CHPE completely resides on the U.S. side of the border, connecting to the Quebec Line, a transmission line on the Canadian side of the border. CHPE’s route begins at the U.S.-Canada border where it connects with the Quebec Line under Lake Champlain and extends southward to a converter station in Astoria, Queens, New York, traversing both underground and underwater along its route. As a buried transmission line, CHPE avoids the visual impacts of overhead transmission along New York’s scenic landscapes and minimizes environmental and social impacts.

Leveraging its extensive expertise in the infrastructure and energy transition finance space, Societe Generale had a leading role supporting this huge project, which is the largest single transaction in the North American renewable sector to date (Societe Generale acted as Sole Financial Advisor, Coordinating Lead Arranger, Deal Contingent Hedge Provider, and LC Issuing Bank for the ~USD 6.0 billion deal).

CHPE will get New York closer to its energy-transition goals, with the project supplying over 10.4TWh/year of low-cost renewable hydropower, which represents roughly 20 percent of NYC’s energy requirement.

Once completed, CHPE is projected to greatly aid in helping New York reach its emission targets by decreasing carbon emissions annually by ~3.9 million metric tons and reducing local air pollutants throughout the State by nearly 20 percent.

In the first 25 years of the project’s projected 80-year lifetime, New York homes and businesses will save $17.3 billion in wholesale energy costs, while the project will create $21.4 billion in new economic output and $1.4 billion in new tax revenue state-wide.

As part of the landmark deal, the CHPE is delivering significant benefits throughout New York State by distributing funds to community partners, initiatives and municipalities including: The Hudson River and Lake Champlain Habitat Enhancement, Restoration, and Research/Habitat Improvement Trust Fund, Green Economy Fund (GEF), The Rockland County Host Communities’ Benefits Package and The Community Engagement Fund.

“Societe Generale believes that the CHPE perfectly represents our goals and values as a bank,” said Eric Kim, head of the bank’s Energy+ team for the Americas region. “Using our infrastructure and energy-transition financing expertise to help municipalities and their citizens experience a cleaner environment while helping reinvest in the communities they live and work in is something that we are proud of. This deal will help modernize the grid of one of the premier cities in the world and serve as an example of how creativity and innovation can drive better outcomes.”