NY PSC to hold hearings on Rochester Area Reliability Project

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold public hearings April 3 on Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation’s (RG&E) application for the construction of the Rochester Area Reliability Project (RARP, Case 11-T-0534).

The project will increase the reliability and capacity of the area’s system by tapping into an existing 345-kV line that runs from Niagara Falls to New York City, and RG&E spokesperson told TransmissionHub on March 29.

“Currently, the Rochester region only has three sources of power: two existing taps off the 345-kV line, and the R.E. Ginna nuclear plant to the northeast of Rochester,” the spokesperson said.

“Our predictions are that we’re going to hit the upper limit of our capacity by 2016, so this will give us a new source” for bringing more electricity into the RG&E system. It will also help relieve loading on existing 115-kV lines, the spokesperson said.

The RARP includes approximately 24 miles of new 115-kV line, two miles of new 345-kV transmission line, a new 345-kV/115-kV substation, and equipment upgrades of several existing substations in the City of Rochester and the towns of Chili, Gates and Henrietta.

So far, the project seems to have met public acceptance. “We had a series of public meetings in October,” the spokesperson said, adding that “So far, we’ve had minimal – almost zero – opposition to this project.”

“We’re very deliberate in the siting of [the project],” the spokesperson continued. “The vast majority of it will be sited on existing utility or transportation rights-of-ways, so it will have minimal disruption of the landscape.”  Some new property easements will be required, and discussions are underway with the affected property owners, according to the spokesperson. 

The project is part of the company’s plan to invest approximately $2bn in infrastructure improvements in New York State from 2011 through 2015 to meet demand growth and improve system reliability.

The PSC may take one year or more to review and rule on the company’s application. Assuming it is approved within that timeframe, RG&E would start construction on the RARP in the spring of 2013 and would expect it to be in service by winter 2014, according to the spokesperson.

RG&E is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola, S.A.