- The New York Public Service Commission on Thursday announced it authorized the state’s four major upstate electric utilities to develop 62 local transmission upgrades at an estimated cost of $4.4 billion to reduce grid congestion.
- The projects will create 3,500 MW of capacity for clean energy the state says will be enough for more than 2.8 million homes.
- Congestion is expected to be reduced in the Capital Region near Albany and New York’s southwest and northern regions.
The upgrades are intended to reduce congestion as called for in the state’s 2019 Climate Act. With additions to the transmission and distribution systems, the improvements will integrate large-scale renewable energy projects.
“The commission recognizes the need to address congestion in certain parts of the state where renewable energy is already bottled and where additional generation projects are in development or likely to be developed in the future,” PSC Chair Rory Christian said.
The PSC approved requests of Central Hudson Gas & Electric, New York State Electric & Gas, National Grid (upstate) and Rochester Gas and Electric.
Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said the projects mark the first time transmission planning is “done through the lens of a clean energy future.”
The lack of transmission capacity in upstate New York increases costs of renewable energy resources and curtails the production of clean energy, the PSC said. The estimated cost of the transmission upgrades leverages at least $1 billion in direct benefits to New York companies and localities and avoids billions in excess payments to renewable power producers, the PSC said.
Municipalities will benefit from what the PSC said will be significant tax payments from the $10.3 billion in expected capital investments.
The PSC said in 2021 that renewable output in the three upstate regions was curtailed due to the lack of adequate transmission capacity.
The projects call for transmission lines and substations to be upgraded and three substations to be built. The utilities plan to complete the work between 2024 and 2030, according to the PSC.
Also Thursday, the PSC approved compliance filings for three upstate wind and solar farms: Cassadaga Wind, a 126-MW project in Arkwright, Charlotte, Cherry Creek and Stockton in Chautauqua County; East Point, a 50-MW solar farm in Sharon in Schoharie County; and High River, a 90-MW solar farm in Florida in Montgomery County.
With the decisions, construction can begin on East Point solar and High River solar. The PSC also ordered a reporting requirement for Cassadaga Wind after one year of commercial operation.