- The New York Power Authority (NYPA) on Tuesday announced it has approved the Northern New York Priority Transmission Project (NNYPTP), a "major" rebuild that will help the state meet its clean energy goals and provide more than $447 million in annual congestion savings.
- The project includes completion of the second phase of NYPA's Smart Path Moses-Adirondack project, rebuilding two other sections of transmission line, and expanding multiple substations.
- In total, National Grid was selected to help rebuild 186 miles of transmission in the northern part of New York. The company will execute the project through its utility Niagara Mohawk and will file for a regulated rate of return at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Transmission infrastructure is key to meeting New York's aggressive clean energy goals, and the project approved by NYPA is expected to enable more than 1 GW of wind and hydropower deliveries from the northern part of New York into the central region.
The project will help to significantly cut emissions, said NYPA. The transmission project is expected to avoid more than 1.16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually on a statewide basis, as well as lead to an annual reduction of approximately 160 tons of NOx emissions from downstate generators.
The northern part of New York is "rich for future renewables, with plentiful land," said Brian Gemmell, vice president of clean energy development for National Grid. But the existing transmission system was put in place years ago and "had finite capacity to bring the energy down to the more central part of the state."
The NNYPTP calls for rebuilding approximately 45 miles in a transmission section known as the Northern Alignment, and rebuilding another approximately 55 miles in the Southern Alignment. Most of the work will be done within existing transmission rights-of-way, according to NYPA.
Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed in 2025. Gemmell said the project is expected to cost slightly more than $1 billion, though a specific figure is not known yet.
NYPA's approval means engineering and planning work can begin, to be followed by an environmental review and approval process at the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC). New York wants its electric system to be carbon free by 2040, and the state is targeting 70% renewable energy generation by 2030.
The project "will help the North Country rebound from pandemic-related job losses," NYPA Board of Trustees Vice Chair Eugene Nicandri said in a statement. It is expected to generate hundreds of jobs. It will also deliver on its plan to "rapidly develop transmission circuit-miles to help build a statewide green energy superhighway," he added.
The PSC identified the project in October 2020 as a priority transmission project under New York's Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act.
There is existing renewables capacity along the transmission corridor today, said Gemmell, but there will be more in the New York Independent System Operator's interconnection queues.
"This will give developers confidence and knowledge this incremental capacity will be there by 2025," he said.