Powering Strong Communities

NYPA Board approves joint development agreement tied to transmission line rebuild project

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees on May 25 approved a joint development agreement (JDA) with National Grid to rebuild approximately 110 miles of transmission lines in the North Country and the Mohawk Valley of New York State. NYPA noted that the work falls primarily within NYPA’s and National Grid’s existing transmission rights-of-way.

The project, formerly known as the Northern New York Priority Transmission Project, was recently rechristened “Smart Path Connect,” to reflect the project’s connection to another prominent NYPA transmission project currently under construction in the North Country, known as Smart Path.

Under the JDA, NYPA is expected to own more than 50% of the project and National Grid will own the remainder. NYPA will lead all development and permitting efforts with input from National Grid. NYPA and National Grid will each retain ownership of their existing facilities and all facility improvements.

The action to approve the JDA follows the NYPA trustees’ March 30 approval of the selection of National Grid as the project’s co-participant.

NYPA noted that Smart Path Connect is a multi-faceted project that includes work to rebuild transmission infrastructure in two distinct areas of New York State; one section, covering approximately 45 miles running eastward known as Massena to Clinton; and the other section, covering approximately 55 miles running southward, known as Croghan to Marcy.

The two segments are connected by NYPA’s Smart Path Moses-Adirondack a transmission project that began construction early last year and spans approximately 78 miles from Massena to Croghan.

The Smart Path project marked the energization of another segment of the project last week making it one-third complete and on-schedule for completion in mid-2023.

Smart Path Connect will help unbottle existing renewable resources in the region, and will also yield significant production cost savings, emissions reductions, and decreases in transmission congestion, NYPA said. It is estimated to result in more than 1.16 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided annually on a statewide basis and an annual reduction of approximately 160 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from downstate emissions sources. NYPA estimates the project will provide more than $447 million in annual congestion savings in northern New York and create hundreds of clean energy jobs during construction.

Acting on a petition filed by NYPA, the Smart Path Connect project was approved by the New York utility regulators in October 2020 as a priority transmission project that should move forward expeditiously under New York’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act.

The project was approved for acceleration in order to help the state meet its climate and clean energy goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, enacted in July 2019, which calls for a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economy-wide carbon neutrality.

The project is expected to begin construction next year, after environmental and regulatory approvals, and take approximately three years to conclude.

NYPA owns and operates approximately one third of New York’s high voltage power lines. These 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 megawatts of hydroelectric power and about 700 megawatts, or more than a third, of New York State generated wind energy to the grid. NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating more than 1,400 circuit miles of transmission lines and 16 generating facilities.

Additional details about the project are available here.

Investor-owned National Grid is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.