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State to rebuild 78 miles of power lines from Massena to Croghan

MASSENA – The state will rebuild 78 miles of power lines running from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Massena to a substation in Croghan in order to send electricity downstate, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The Smart Path project, when completed, will run north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties carrying hydropower from Massena and power from newly constructed wind farms, solar power projects and other large-scale renewable energy sources, from upstate to high-energy demand areas downstate, Cuomo’s office said.

The newly rebuilt transmission line, called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, will help the state meet the a mandates from Cuomo that 50 percent of New York’s consumed electricity comes from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030, according to a news release from his office.

The Smart Path project is expected to create approximately 2,000 full-time, well-paying jobs during development and construction, the governor’s office said. All construction is expected to take place on existing rights-of-way in order to minimize the impact on the environment and adjacent property and landowners. Additionally, the project will pursue an expedited permitting approach available to upgrades that do not expand rights-of-way. Construction is estimated to take four years and is slated to begin in 2019, Cuomo said.

The $440 million rebuild of the Moses-Adirondack transmission artery includes replacing 78 of the 86-miles on each of two transmission lines that were originally constructed by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by the Power Authority in 1953. The transmission lines run from Massena in St. Lawrence County, home to NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR hydroelectric plant, to a substation in the Town of Croghan in Lewis County. The transmission lines are still supported in many areas by outmoded wooden poles that will be replaced with new steel monopole structures, according to the release.

The new structures and conductors will be capable of transmitting up to 345 kilovolts, but will be operated in the near-term at the current level of 230kV. This ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires is a cost-effective way to unlock more renewable power, especially in-state renewable generation and imports of hydro from Canada, to anywhere along the transmission line, as New York continues to advance its clean energy goals. NYPA worked with transmission owners in New York, including Con Ed, NYSEG, the Long Island Power Authority, National Grid and Central Hudson Gas & Electric, to obtain concurrence on the Smart Path design to support long-term expansion of renewable energy development, Cuomo’s office said.