New York regulators Thursday approved the roughly $1.2 billion Smart Path Connect transmission project planned by a National Grid subsidiary and the New York Power Authority.
The New York Public Service Commission also approved transmission facilities to connect Invenergy’s 291-MW Canisteo wind farm to the grid, and signed off on compliance filings for five other wind and solar projects totaling 517 MW, allowing construction and operations to begin.
Earlier this week, the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment rejected NextEra Energy Resources’ application to build the 180-MW North Side solar project, saying it would hurt wetlands as well as threatened and endangered species.
The PSC and the siting board made key decisions this week as New York aims to get 70% of its electricity from emissions-free sources by the end of the decade and to have zero emissions from the power sector by 2040.
On the transmission front, the PSC approved the Smart Path Connect project, which calls for rebuilding 100 miles of 230-kV lines as either 230-kV or 345-kV lines, along with substation construction and upgrades.
The project will eliminate existing curtailments of about 7.5 TWh and produce about $450 million in congestion cost savings while also improving grid reliability, the PSC said.
The PSC had previously determined the project was needed to support renewable energy projects in northern New York and meet state clean energy goals, according to the decision.
The project will complement the NYPA Smart Path project and the AC Transmission projects, which have been deemed critical in delivering renewable energy.
“Once the [Smart Path Connect] project and the other projects are in service, they would provide a continuous 345-kV transmission system significantly improving the deliverability of renewable generation from northern and western New York,” the PSC said.
National Grid’s Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. has an estimated $535 million share in the project, which is slated to be operating before 2026, according to filings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC last month rejected Niagara Mohawk’s request to be allowed to recover its share of the project’s costs on a state-wide basis as well as for an extra 0.5% return on equity to reflect the alleged risks of building the project.
The PSC also approved Invenergy’s plan to build and own transmission facilities so its Canisteo wind farm in Steuben County can connect with New York State Electric and Gas’ system.
Meanwhile, New York’s generation siting board on Aug. 9 denied a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for NextEra’s North Side solar project on about 2,235 acres in St. Lawrence County.
“The adverse environmental impacts associated with construction and operation of the project, specifically impacts to wetlands and threatened and endangered species, have not been minimized or avoided to the maximum extent practicable,” the siting board said.
The project was a winning bidder in a 2019 solicitation by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.