WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority and National Grid NY today announced the greenlighting of a critically important transmission line build in the North Country, known as Smart Path Connect. The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the 100-mile transmission line project at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting yesterday. The transmission line build out is necessary to help meet the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and reinforces the foundational pillars and strategic priorities of the Power Authority’s Vision 2030 Strategic Plan.
“The PSC’s approval of the Smart Path Connect transmission line project is great news for NYPA’s customers, Northern New Yorkers and the residents of New York State,” said NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “When this critical infrastructure project is energized in 2025, it will connect with Smart Path, creating one, continuous, resilient path for the flow of renewable power across the State. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, we are building and strengthening a reliable transmission network to support our clean energy economy. I am extremely grateful to the NYPA team and our partners at National Grid for their work to date and I thank the Public Service Commission for its approval so we can now move forward to construction.”
“As New York pursues a clean energy future, the Smart Path Connect project is a vital link in helping to make that goal a reality,” said Rudolph Wynter, President of National Grid New York. “We appreciate the PSC’s approval of the siting of this critical project. With Smart Path Connect, NYPA and National Grid will work together to integrate clean, renewable energy into the New York grid, while making the grid more resilient and reliable for years to come. On top of that, the project is also projected to save New Yorkers money by reducing congestion on the transmission system. We’re looking forward to completing other regulatory steps and beginning construction.”
Smart Path Connect is a multi-faceted project that includes: completion of the second phase of NYPA’s Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild; building approximately 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the Town of Clinton, known as the Northern Alignment; and building approximately 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, known as the Southern Alignment; and several substations along the impacted transmission corridor. The work falls primarily within existing transmission rights-of-way in in Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oneida counties. The rebuilt lines will connect economical, clean and renewable energy into the statewide power system, including low-cost hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project as well as power from newly constructed and proposed renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
The project, then known as the Northern New York Priority Transmission Project, was identified by the PSC on October 15, 2020 as a priority transmission project that should move forward expeditiously under New York’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The Project was approved for acceleration in order to help the State meet its nation-leading climate and clean energy goals set forth in the Climate Act, enacted in July 2019, which calls for a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economy-wide carbon neutrality.
The project will help unbottle existing renewable resources in the region, and also will yield significant production cost savings, emissions reductions, and decreases in transmission congestion. It is estimated to result in more than 1.16 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually on a statewide basis and an annual reduction of an estimated 160 tons of NOx emissions. NYPA estimates the project will provide more than $447 million in annual congestion savings in northern New York and create hundreds of clean energy jobs during construction.
In addition to Smart Path and Smart Path Connect, several other New York State transmission line rebuild projects, as well as new transmission projects, are on deck for construction and in various stages of the permitting process. These include NYPA and LS Power New York’s Central East Energy Connect project which involves the rebuild and expansion of nearly 100 miles of historically heavily congested transmission lines in the Utica/Albany corridor; New York Transco’s New York Energy Solution which involves the rebuild of approximately 54 miles of transmission lines in the Hudson Valley and NextEra Energy Transmission New York’s recently completed and energized Empire State Line Project of approximately 20 miles of transmission in Western New York.
Two new major renewable energy projects which also include transmission were selected by Governor Hochul last year to help transport clean energy to New York City are also on deck: Clean Path New York, a project developed through a collaboration between NYPA and Forward Power (a joint venture of Invenergy and energyRe) and the Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Project developed by Transmission Developers Inc. All told, New York’s transmission investments total nearly 1,000 miles of new and upgraded New York State transmission lines that will help advance New York’s bold clean energy goals.
Construction on Smart Path Connect is expected to begin sometime this Fall. For more information on the Smart Path Connect Project, please visit the Smart Path Connect website.
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.