The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) adopted criteria for identifying transmission projects that are needed urgently to meet the nation-leading renewable energy goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). As part of the action, the Commission also identified the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) proposed Northern New York project as a high-priority project and referred it to NYPA for development and construction in accordance with the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Protection Act of 2020).
“New York’s nation-leading CLCPA legislation calls for transformational quantities of renewable energy, which in turn requires smart new transmission to connect that power to customers,” said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. “Today, we have adopted well-designed new rules to specifically expedite bulk transmission investments that unbottle existing and new renewables. We also have designated the first investment under these new rules, NYPA’s Northern New York project, to complete a critical link in our upstate grid and unbottle at least 950 to 1500 MW of renewable energy sources.”
The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Protection Act calls on the Commission and NYPA to work together when the Commission determines that there is a need for expeditious action to solve a transmission need. Once such an urgent need is established, the Act authorizes NYPA to bring to bear its significant development capabilities and statewide transmission experience to ensure timely construction of the transmission solution.
NYPA has already identified a multi-faceted project that meets the criteria. The project now moving forward, known as the Northern New York Project, includes completion of the second phase of NYPA’s 86-mile Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild, rebuilding approximately 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the Town of Clinton, rebuilding approximately 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, as well as rebuilding and expanding several substations along the impacted transmission corridor.
In addition to unbottling existing renewable energy in the region, NYPA estimates the Northern New York project will result in significant production cost savings, emissions reductions, and decreases in congestion. NYPA calculates that the project would result in production cost savings of approximately $99 million per year, resulting in a project value of approximately $1.05 billion over a 20-year period. The project 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 approximately 160 tons of NOx emissions from downstate emissions sources, providing a significant air quality benefit to New York City residents. Finally, NYPA estimates the project would result in more than $447 million in annual congestion savings in Northern New York.
Environmental and clean energy groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York strongly support efforts to identify and advance transmission projects that are needed in the near term to meet the CLCPA targets.
To build on the region’s potential, the North Country Chamber of Commerce believes renewable suppliers must have transmission access to markets. The Chamber states its strong and wholehearted support for the NYPA proposal for a major upgrade of its transmission capacity across the North Country, and notes that these projects would benefit existing and planned renewable energy facilities.