New York PSC Approves Second Construction Phase Of NYPA Transmission Project

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) on Sept. 9 approved the second construction phase of the 86-mile, $484 million Smart Path transmission project in St. Lawrence County. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) owned Smart Path project was granted authorization in November 2019 and is being built in two phases.

The previously approved first construction phase, now underway, includes replacing 78 miles of the existing wooden structures and replacing them with steel monopoles. Additionally, the distance between poles is extended, further minimizing the use of space on the right-of-way and greatly reducing the number of poles on the landscape.

The rebuilt lines will be taller but stronger, less susceptible to failure and able to better withstand inclement weather, such as ice storms, the PSC noted. Also, the reduced size of the project means less of an impact on agriculture and wetlands.

The just-approved second construction phase will involve rebuilding six miles of existing steel structures coming out of the Robert-Moses Switchyard in the Town of Massena, N.Y., and rebuilding 0.4 miles of steel structures into the Adirondack substation with steel monopoles. In its entirety, the Smart Path Reliability Project traverses through 12 towns.

During construction, electrical customers will not have their service disrupted and both phases of the rebuilt transmission lines are expected to be completed in 2023, the PSC said.

The Smart Path project is needed to rebuild facilities that are well past their serviceable lifetime to make them more resilient and reduce maintenance costs.

The rebuilt transmission lines are needed to deliver electricity, including carbon-free hydroelectric power, from Northern New York to the rest of the state, to re-energize the bulk electric system as a component of the New York Independent System Operator’s system restoration plan in the event of a future widespread outage and to provide increased capacity for future expansion to meet New York’s clean energy targets.

In addition to the second phase of the Smart Path project, the Commission approved New York Transco’s Rock Tavern to Sugarloaf project. The project, valued at approximately $100 million, includes replacement of an existing 115-kV 12-mile overhead transmission line and associated transmission towers on an existing right-of-way in the Towns of New Windsor, Hamptonburgh, Blooming Grove, and Chester in Orange County as well as station upgrades.

This project is needed in connection with a larger transmission line upgrade known as the New York Energy Solution owned by New York Transco. The New York Energy Solution project is designed to provide additional transmission capacity to move power from upstate to downstate.

The Rock Tavern to Sugarloaf project is scheduled to be operational by December 2023.