- New York regulators voted to move ahead with improvements proposed for 156 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, saying the state's transmission system is no longer sufficient to move power from upstate generation to demand centers.
- The projects will will now head to a competitive bidding process managed by the New York Independent System Operator.
- The approved projects include line upgrades and new substation facilities, which the Public Service Commission estimate will return $1.20 in benefit for every $1 spent.
New York's grid operator will use a competitive bidding process to complete transmission projects, but the state last week moved a step closer to modernizing its grid when the PSC voted to approve upgrades on two primary segments of the a major transmission line.
“Much like a traffic jam on a crowded highway, our existing system of antiquated transmission lines
are simply too congested to allow electricity being produced upstate to move to where demand is
greatest,” PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman said in a statement. “Improving the transmission system will reduce his problem, resulting in lower electricity costs for the average customer, while helping to reduce emissions and improve the environment.”
Projects will occur on existing right-of-ways on two primary segments of line: one running approximately 91 miles starting in Oneida County and ending in Albany County; the second segment runs 51 miles starting in Rensselaer County and ending in Dutchess County. A related upgraded line runs 11 miles in Orange County.
Projects include new 345 kV and 230 kV lines, switch and transformer upgrades, and system control and data acquisition improvements.
According to the PSC, the projects will promote job growth and development of new, efficienct generation; enhance system reliability; improve market competition; and reduce the health impacts associated with carbon emissions. The upgrades are primarily aimed at bringing cleaner renewable energy produced in upstate New York to larger demand centers.
The New York ISO issued a statement saying it was ready to solicit projects and will conduct necessary planning studies. Responding to the PSC's vote on the projects, ISO President and CEO Brad Jones said the decision "is an important step in addressing the reality of our aging transmission infrastructure and strengthening the reliability of the electric system that is a vital foundation of our economy."