A massive half-billion-dollar project that brings high-powered energy over and into the Hudson Valley has officially begun.

Daily Energy Insider reports that work on a 54.5-mile-long project stretching from Rensselaer County into the Hudson Valley has started. The 345-kilovolt transmission line is expected to increase the amount of energy that can be pushed into the Hudson Valley, helping to deliver more renewable energy.

The project is beginning at the Churchtown Switching Station in Claverack. Work in the Columbia County town includes a renovation of an existing switching station and the installation of a temporary bypass electric line.

As work continues it will cover sites in Rensselaer County, Columbia County and the Towns of Milan, Clinton, and Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County. The 345 kV line will bring power to the Pleasant Valley substation in the Town of Pleasant Valley. If all goes to plan, the line will start pumping power into the area by 2023.

State officials hope that this mammoth investment into the transmission project will stimulate job growth, reduce environmental and health impacts, improve reliability, and lower costs. The new line is also expected to increase the ability of local power grids to withstand storms.

Power companies have been under fire in recent years after storms have knocked out service in some areas for extended periods of time. A more efficient way to move power is essential to solving this issue, but that's not the only reason the state is excited about this project. Governor Cuomo has touted the plan as "the key to combatting climate change and achieving our nation-leading clean energy goals”

This project is an integral part of a new energy superhighway that’s being built to move electricity across the state more efficiently – while also creating new jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers that will help to reinvigorate our local and statewide economies.

When it first gained approval, the project was estimated to cost $400 million, but now is estimated at $530 million.

Check it out: A living sculpture made from cold air and water is a little-known tourist destination right here in the Hudson Valley.

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