By - Jim Vess

New York announces $440 million transmission project to boost renewable energy generation

Energize Weekly, August 2, 2017

A $440 million project to upgrade a 75-year-old transmission line to carry renewable energy was announced last week by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The rebuilt 78-mile transmission line—the project has been dubbed the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project—will help carry wind and hydropower from northern New York to the populated areas downstate.

The plan has won support from independent power producers, environmental groups and labor unions.

“This critical upgrade will help strengthen our clean energy economy in every corner of the state, and help New York reach its nation-leading clean energy standard,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “By investing in the long-term sustainability of our state’s energy infrastructure today, we are helping to ensure New Yorkers will have access to a cleaner, greener future for years to come.”

New York has a Clean Energy Standard (CES) goal of getting 50 percent of the state’s electricity from non-polluting sources by 2030.

“A robust transmission network is essential for New York’s efforts to scale up and deploy renewable energy,” Rory Christian, the director of New York Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement.

The line is part of the plan for a “Clean Energy Highway” for the state. Several transmission projects have already been completed, including the Marcy South Series Compensation Project and the Ramapo to Rock Tavern Project. Both are aimed at moving electricity downstate. Two additional projects for western New York and the Upstate-Southeast region are being evaluated.

Smart Path will update the existing line to 345 kilovolts (kV) from the current 230 kV. To minimize impacts, all construction will be in existing rights of way. The project is slated to begin in 2019 and take four years.

The two transmission lines were built by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by the New York Power Authority in 1953. In many areas, the lines are still supported by dated wooden poles, which will be replaced by steel structures.

The line will carry electricity from the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project hydroelectric plant and from newly constructed wind farms, solar projects and other large-scale renewable projects.

“This is the way transmission should be built,” Gavin Donohue, president and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc., said in a statement. “New York is ripe for renewables development, and transmission expansion that benefits in-state generators by moving more electricity across the state attracts investments that enrich all New Yorkers.”

Cuomo said that the project will help create 2,000 jobs during construction and development and 80 full-time jobs, which brought praise from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

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