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NYPA proposes rebuilding North-South transmission line to bolster renewable energy

Dive Brief:

  • The New York Power Authority has petitioned state regulators for authority to rebuild the Moses-Adirondack transmission lines in Northern New York, which run 86 miles, built in 1942 and have exceeded their service life. 
  • Licensing and engineering studies will continue through 2019, with construction planned to start in 2020 and be completed by 2023.
  • If approved by the Public Service Commission, the project will increase the lines’ voltage capabilities from 230 kV to 345 kV, allowing more renewable energy from upstate New York to be connected to the state’s power system.

Dive Insight:

NYPA’s announcement this week is further indication the state is moving rapidly on aggressive emissions reductions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set New York on a path towards 50% renewable energy by 2030. The rebuilt lines will carry 900 MW during the winter, supplying almost 1 million homes with renewable power.

In a statement, NYPA explained the ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires “is a cost-effective way to add on more renewable power, especially from in-state renewable generation, anywhere along the transmission line.” 

The line will continue to be operated at 230 kV in the near term but NYPA’s project website says “rebuilding the line will … support future upgrades in voltage.” The authority said project managers held a series of public meetings in February to solicit feedback from landowners and the general public on the project design. New York has made a series of clean energy commitments.

Last month, Cuomo announced $1.4 billion in funding for 26 renewable energy projects, calling it the single-largest commitment to renewable energy by a state. The projects were selected following a solicitation to support the Clean Climate Careers initiative that Cuomo launched last summer with a target of 40,000 new clean energy jobs by 2020.

In January, the governor announced a “comprehensive agenda to combat climate change” that called for aggressive increases in energy storage, development of at least 800 MW of offshore wind resources and new energy efficiency targets.

The projects announced last month include 22 utility-scale solar farms, three wind farms and a hydroelectric project. The largest project will be Invenergy’s 340 MW wind farm in Western New York. All told the projects will add almost 1,400 MW.