- The New York Public Service Commission on Thursday approved contracts necessary to advance two transmission projects that will deliver wind, solar and hydroelectric power from Canada and other regions of the state into New York City.
- The Clean Path NY project, scheduled to come online in 2027, will access resources in the upstate and western regions of the state, while the Champlain Hudson Power Express project is expected to begin delivering power from Canada in 2025. State officials say that by 2030, the two projects will halve New York City's need for fossil fuel generation.
- The commission also approved a new framework for the state to achieve at least 10 GW of distributed solar by 2030 through the expansion of the NY-Sun initiative, which offers financing and other incentives for homes and businesses.
New York's decision to greenlight the Clean Path NY and Champlain Hudson projects marks the state's largest investment in renewable energy and transmission in 50 years, according to the governor's office.
Approval of the contracts is "a major step" toward New York's goal of producing 70% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, Gov. Kathy Hochul, D, said in a statement.
The state expects the projects to deliver up to $5.8 billion in overall societal benefits, including greenhouse gas reductions and air quality improvements, and $8.2 billion in economic development across the state. Hochul also noted that the development includes investments in disadvantaged communities, and she said the projects will help stabilize energy prices and blunt the impacts of fluctuations in fossil fuel costs.
The projects will be a boon to local economies and communities and will "start to reverse the systemic health disparities and poor air quality," New Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Sorin said in a statement.
However, there are some concerns about how the increased demand for hydroelectric power will affect Indigenous communities located near dams.
Several First Nations leaders warned last year that the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line would "cause serious and, possibly, irreversible damage to the natural environment on which our communities depend and on which our culture is based."
The Champlain Hudson project, which is being developed by H.Q. Energy Services, is already fully permitted and will enable New York City to purchase electricity from Hydro-Québec.
Clean Path NY has yet to go through the PSC's permitting process. The project consists of a 175-mile transmission line connecting 3,800 MW of new solar and wind power in the state and the New York Power Authority's existing 1,160 MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant.
State leaders say the new transmission lines will be underground to "avoid, minimize, and mitigate environmental damages including impacts on sensitive species and habitats and be resilient in the face of extreme weather."
Invenergy, energyRe and NYPA are all working together to develop the Clean Path NY project.
In conjunction with the PSC's decision, the City of New York confirmed it will purchase a portion of the renewable energy attributes the two projects generate. And the New York State Office of General Services committed to contracting with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for Tier 4 renewable energy credits associated with the state's energy use in the city.
The PSC's approval "brings us one step further to the infrastructure investments and good-paying jobs New York needs to lead the way to an inclusive green economy," said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.
The PSC on Thursday also approved a road map submitted by NYSERDA and the state's Department of Public Service to expand the state's NY-Sun initiative.
The program can be "a nation-leading blueprint for the development of distributed solar," Hochul said.
The framework includes investing $1.5 billion in ratepayer-funded incentives to extend the program, which officials say will spur approximately $4.4 billion in private investment over the mid- to late 2020s.
The expansion is expected to support 6,000 new solar jobs across New York. It includes wage requirements for projects from 1 MW to 5 MW, and it is designed to deliver up to 40% of the benefits to disadvantaged communities and low- and moderate-income residents.