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NYPA Board Approves $294 Million Contract for Transmission Rebuild

Feb. 11, 2020
The major north-south transmission artery will modernize New York State’s power grid and advance Governor Cuomo’s clean energy goals.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $341 million in funding to advance the New York Power Authority’s plan to rebuild and strengthen the Moses-Adirondack transmission lines - a vital 86-mile stretch of New York’s North-South power transmission system. The Governor also announced a $294 million contract, as part of that funding, for project construction that was approved this week by the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees. The project, known as the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, supports the Governor’s recent State-of-the-State proposal to modernize New York’s energy system to help carry renewable energy from Northern New York to other parts of the state and will help meet New York’s clean energy goals set forth in the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law in July 2019.

“The rebuilding of our North to South transmission lines is a major infrastructure investment and vital piece of our clean energy future that will boost upstate economies and create jobs,” said Governor Cuomo. “This project provides a critical link for the delivery of new clean energy sources being developed in Northern New York to the population centers that need their power, furthering our nation-leading efforts to build a carbon-free energy system by 2040.”

The $341 million funding was authorized at the NYPA Board of Trustees December meeting. The NYPA board approved a five-year construction contract valued at $294 million from that previously approved funding to Michels Power to construct the new transmission lines. NYPA’s Trustees previously approved $142.6 million toward phase one of the project, which is expected to cost about $483.8 million. Yesterday’s contract approval will support the construction of the new lines primarily on existing rights of way in order to minimize the impacts on the environment and adjacent landowners. 

Smart Path’s first phase involves rebuilding about 78 miles of the total 86-mile transmission artery that was constructed originally by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by the Power Authority in 1950. Running north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties in the North Country, the lines connect economical, clean and renewable energy into the statewide power system, including low-cost hydropower from NYPA's St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project as well as power from newly constructed renewable energy sources. The project is expected to support hundreds of jobs during its construction. Construction is expected to begin this year following the Public Service Commission’s approval of the project’s first Environmental Management and Construction Plan. The rebuilt transmission lines are expected to be completed in 2023. 

The second phase of the project involves replacing the remaining length of the transmission lines and upgrading the Moses Switchyard and the Adirondack Substation to operate at 345 kV. NYPA Vice Chairman Eugene L. Nicandri said, “As a North Country resident, I am thrilled to see this project reach this new stage. With the Power Authority's construction contracts announced today, we are now ready to realize a more resilient transmission system for the North Country and across New York State.”

The rebuilt lines will be capable of transmitting up to 345 kilovolts (kV), but will be operated in the near-term at the 230 kV level. Together the lines are currently rated to carry 900 megawatts during the winter months--enough clean electricity to power up to 900,000 averaged-sized homes. This ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires it is a cost-effective way to add on more renewable power, especially from in-state renewable generation, anywhere along the transmission line, as New York continues to advance its clean energy goals.

NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “Rebuilding and modernizing these North Country transmission lines is vital to advancing the Governor’s and New York State’s clean energy policies and goals. These Smart Path upgrades will enable us to have a reliable, resilient clean energy transmission pathway from north to south.” The New York State Public Service Commission recently granted NYPA a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Smart Path project. The certificate will require an amendment prior to operation at 345 kV.

Governor Cuomo first announced the Smart Path upgrade project in July 2017 as part of the state’s comprehensive Energy Highway Blueprint. With the completion of several previously announced transmission projects and the construction of Smart Path soon to be underway, realization of New York’s Energy Highway Blueprint, is showing demonstrable progress. Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, the Energy Highway Blueprint was created to accelerate the construction and repair of several sections of New York’s transmission system in order to add additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation into New York’s power grid.

See attached map for New York Clean Energy Highway transmission projects that have recently been completed or are in progress.Visit for up-to-date information about the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project.

Watch a video of NYPA’s Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project here

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