National Grid and its partner New York Power Authority (NYPA) are working to install a new power line to serve the power needs of the Tri-Lakes Region of New York State, including the villages of Lake Placid and Tupper Lake in the Adirondack Park. Construction of the line, now underway, is the responsibility of National Grid under direction of project manager Jim Bunyan. According to Bunyan, the line is needed to address reliability and capacity issues in the region; reliability because the existing 30-year old line serving the region is difficult to maintain; and capacity, because it has reached its limit to serve the load.
In September 2004, an agreement was executed between the villages of Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, National Grid and the NYPA to help alleviate the longstanding reliability problems in the region through short- and long-term solutions. Long-term infrastructure improvements in the Tri-Lakes area have been identified by the interested parties and were developed through a cooperative effort between National Grid and NYPA. Improvements include two static var compensators (SVC) to improve voltage conditions, a new 23-mi 46-kV power line, and energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
The SVCs became operational in the spring of 2007 and are located within existing substations serving the Tupper Lake and Lake Colby areas. The new 46-kV line is located within the Adirondack Park in St. Lawrence County. Construction on the southern section began in January 2008 and on the middle section this past summer.
The line begins at a new substation in Parishville. A National Grid 115-kV line is tapped to feed this substation where the voltage is stepped down to 46-kV. Much of the line is located on existing highway/utility corridors. The line ends with a new regulator station near an existing substation in Piercefield. An existing supply line from the Piercefield substation will bring the power to the Tupper Lake substation.
Bunyan explained that the project includes consolidating existing distribution and telephone lines on the new structures. Structures used are single wood poles at a maximum height of 70 ft above grade. The conductor used is 477 kcmil ACSR, 18/1. Lightning protection is provided in the substation and at the voltage regulator station and at selected areas along the line. No overhead ground wire is used.
Many environmental and state agencies were involved in the approval for the construction of this line. “This project is unlike anything I have ever encountered in terms of the number of approvals, restrictions and oversight being given to the construction. However, I am very pleased with the support, from the different Agencies and the public, for the construction which is being undertaken with great care in this environmentally-sensitive area,” said Bunyan.
The Northern section is 100% complete. The Southern section is 90% complete. The Middle 3.6-mi section just received its last agency approval, according to Bunyan, and construction began in August 2008. Scheduled completion date is December 2008, in time for the 2008/2009-winter season.
National Grid will maintain and operate the line, which will be owned by NYPA until it is transferred to National Grid at the end of 2011.