Responding to local residents and customers, National Grid, Central Hudson and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), along with the newly formed New York Transco have submitted nine enhanced and innovative transmission line proposals to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), addressing the state’s long-term energy needs as well as local concerns. All of these alternatives are designed to be constructed within existing rights of way— with some of the new proposals aimed at improving the visual impact of existing transmission corridors. It is expected that the PSC will certificate only the project(s) necessary to achieve its objectives.
The enhanced proposals address residential concerns and public input while responding to the PSC’s request to promote enhanced electric transmission throughout the state. The proposals meet both current and anticipated electric demand while improving infrastructure throughout upstate to provide greater reliability and encourage economic development.
In December 2014, the PSC asked all transmission owners that proposed plans to relieve statewide energy congestion to revise their initial proposals to minimize customer and landowner impact while continuing to meet increasing needs.
The filing includes the following key elements:
• All alternatives are designed to be constructed within the existing rights of way or properties currently owned by the utilities. There will be no need to acquire additional land to expand the rights of way.
• Proposed alternatives optimize the use of existing rights of way. In the Hudson Valley, where some proposals include the construction of new circuits to replace existing circuits, the total number of structures on rights of way will be fewer than what exists today after the project is completed.
• New structure heights will be comparable – some slightly higher, some lower – but overall less intrusive visually than existing structures.
• In most of the alternatives, transmission facilities that are, in some cases, more than 80 years old will be replaced with new, more modern-looking structures. This will not only improve the visual impact but it will augment the transmission lines’ resiliency.
• An enhanced electric system provides greater system operating flexibility and capacity to meet the region’s transmission needs for the decades to come.
• All proposed alternatives improve the UPNY/SENY interface transfers and most of the projects provide greater than 1,000 MW of increased transfer capacity. These will significantly reduce system congestion and costs to New York consumers.
Affiliates of National Grid, Central Hudson and NYSEG/RG&E, together with an affiliate of Con Edison and Orange and Rockland Utilities, are part of a new organization, New York Transco LLC. New York Transco is focused on developing electric transmission to meet future electricity needs of all New Yorkers and will develop and own these transmission projects upon receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals.
“National Grid has been serving these New York State communities for more than a century and we have always strived to listen and respond to the concerns of customers and neighbors. These enhanced new proposals can help reduce electric transmission congestion, improve the reliability of New York’s transmission grid and help incentivize future economic expansion and the development of more clean energy projects. The result of these proposals is a win-win for our local communities and for our state,” said Ken Daly, President of National Grid New York.
“Transmission system congestion cited by federal regulators prompted formation of the new capacity zone in Lower New York, raising electricity costs for businesses and residents,” said James P. Laurito, President and CEO of Central Hudson. “These proposals will improve electricity flow throughout the state by updating the transmission system, provide economic and environmental benefits and meet the interests of the local communities, while contributing to efforts dedicated to reforming the state’s energy vision.”
“It is essential that transmission system owners and other interested parties work together with property owners to improve the state’s transmission grid so we can continue to provide safe, reliable service across the state and accommodate the development of additional generation resources,” said Mark S. Lynch, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “While the initial project proposals filed by the transmission owners met these objectives, we have now addressed customer concerns by repackaging these projects to be built entirely in existing transmission corridor rights of way. These projects will benefit the upstate and downstate regions and, at the same time, minimize visual and land-use impacts to the fullest extent possible.”
More details and information on New York Transco and the revised New York Transco proposals are available at www.nytransco.com and www.nysenergysolution.com.