The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) last week approved the construction and operation of a 1-GW transmission line that could stretch 330 miles from the Canadian border to Astoria, Queens, through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.
The $2 billion line is expected to bring hydroelectric power to New York City, which currently relies significantly on gas- and oil-fired generation. The PSC said energy imported could amount to more than 10% of the energy consumption in the city, a significant amount of added capacity that would enhance energy security by providing another source of power. The interconnection with the Canadian regional transmission system would also provide stronger transmission ties into New York City, one of the most congested load pockets in the state, it said.
Other benefits of the new power line include easing the strain on the gas transportation system by allowing imports of electricity from outside the city. “Demand for natural gas use is increasing in New York City due to increased use of gas for electric generation and the gas conversion needs resulting from New York City’s phase out of use of #4 and #6 oils for home and business heating purposes,” the PSC said. “The increase in gas demand could strain the gas transportation system into and within New York City.”
The line would be built either underwater or underground along the entire length of the route. It would terminate at a converter station located in Consolidated Edison’s Astoria annex. From there, one high-voltage, alternating current (HVAC) circuit will connect, via underground conduit, to the nearby substation of the New York Power Authority (NYPA). From the NYPA substation, another set of HVAC cables would be located under the streets for about three miles to Con Edison’s Rainey substation.
The PSC said a critical factor in its decision to approve the project that would provide renewable energy was the "the fact that the financial risk to ratepayers is minimized since ratepayers will not be required to assume the financial risks to build the project; ratepayers will be protected from construction and operation costs."
Project developers Champlain Hudson Power Express and CHPE Properties still need to obtain several federal permits as well as secure private financing.
Sources: POWERnews, NY PSC