N.Y. PSC identifies NYPA transmission project as high priority

The New York State Public Service Commission on Oct. 15 adopted criteria for identifying transmission projects that are needed to meet the renewable energy goals of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

As part of last week’s action, the PSC also identified the New York Power Authority’s proposed Northern New York project as a high-priority project and referred it to NYPA for development and construction in accordance with New York’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Protection Act of 2020.

The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Protection Act calls on the PSC and NYPA to work together when the Commission determines that there is a need for expeditious action to solve a transmission need.

Once such an urgent need is established, the Act “authorizes NYPA to bring to bear its significant development capabilities and statewide transmission experience to ensure timely construction of the transmission solution,” the PSC noted in an Oct. 15 news release.

NYPA has already identified a multi-faceted project that meets the criteria. The project now moving forward, known as the Northern New York Project, includes completion of the second phase of NYPA’s 86-mile Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild, rebuilding approximately 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the Town of Clinton, rebuilding approximately 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, as well as rebuilding and expanding several substations along the impacted transmission corridor.

Along with unbottling existing renewable energy in the region, NYPA estimates the Northern New York project will result in significant production cost savings, emissions reductions, and decreases in congestion, the PSC noted.

NYPA calculates that the project will result in production cost savings of approximately $99 million per year, resulting in a project value of approximately $1.05 billion over a 20-year period. The project is estimated to result in more than 1.16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided annually on a statewide basis, and an annual reduction of approximately 160 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions from downstate emissions sources.

NYPA also estimates the project will result in more than $447 million in annual congestion savings in Northern New York.

NYPA owns and operates approximately one third of New York’s high voltage power lines. The lines transmit power from NYPA’s three large hydroelectric generation facilities and independent wind power generation facilities, connecting nearly 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy to New York State’s power grid.

This includes connecting more than 6,300 MW of hydroelectric power and about 700 MW, or more than a third, of New York State generated wind energy to the grid.

On July 18, 2019, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The Act requires New York to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and no less than 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

Cuomo announces PSC approval of expanded clean energy standard

Meanwhile, Cuomo on Oct. 15 announced that the PSC approved an expansion of the state’s Clean Energy Standard to refocus New York's existing regulatory and procurement structure on achieving the goals laid out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The Act established a 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 mandate.

The expanded Clean Energy Standard gives the state the authority to issue a request for proposals for the renewable power generation sources needed to implement this plan.

Additional details are available here.