NYPA board approves $726m transmission repair, improvements effort

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved the $726m Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) project for repair and improvements to NYPA’s transmission system in western, central and northern New York.

On Dec. 18, the trustees authorized initial funding of $119m for transmission equipment improvements at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena, N.Y., and Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, N.Y., according to a Dec. 19 statement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The initial work will focus on measures at the two hydroelectric plants’ switchyards and substations, transmission-line structures, or towers, and along existing transmission corridors extending from the plants. The statement also noted that the improvements will be done in multiple phases.

The initial measures under the transmission LEM will be followed by other planned improvements under the $726m modernization program, with the work extending to 2025.

Those include work on transmission facilities at NYPA’s Frederick R. Clark Energy Center in Marcy, near Utica, N.Y., and Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in the northern Catskills.

“At the Clark Energy Center, we are working on the replacement/refurbishment of substation equipment that allows for the transfer of electricity from transmission lines to the utility system,” a NYPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Dec. 20. “The work at the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project will occur later in the LEM initiative and will be further developed as we proceed with this program.”

The transmission lines involved in the effort range in voltage from 115 kV to 765 kV, the spokesperson said.

Other dimensions of NYPA’s transmission LEM include investing in smart grid technologies for maximizing the efficiency of transmission facilities and for achieving greater “situational awareness” of their performance in variable conditions, the statement added.

The spokesperson said the smart grid features include high voltage relay protection technologies that will allow for better communication and faster response in protecting the transmission system.

NYPA’s plans “directly tie in with a major strategic goal of the Governor’s Energy Highway Blueprint, to rebuild and modernize the state energy infrastructure to meet current and future energy needs,” according to the statement.

As reported, following recommendations included in the New York Energy Highway Task Force’s blueprint, state regulators began a proceeding to review proposals from utilities and private developers for new transmission lines and upgrades to existing facilities that will address congestion on the transmission system between Utica and New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his 2012 State of the State Address delivered Jan. 4, announced a plan to build a private sector-funded $2bn “Energy Highway” system that will tap into the generation capacity and renewable energy potential in upstate and western New York to bring low-cost power to downstate New York.

“Modernizing and strengthening our state’s power transmission system is a centerpiece of the Energy Highway Blueprint, and the approval by the NYPA Board of Trustees sets the wheels in motion on this important project,” Cuomo said in the Dec. 19 statement. “By making major improvements to New York’s power transmission system, we can help ensure that our state has the proper infrastructure in place to support a growing economy.”

The Energy Highway blueprint’s objective “is nothing short of transforming New York’s aging, congested energy infrastructure so that it is equipped to support economic growth and to supply reliable, lower cost and clean power for New York’s residents and businesses far into the future,” Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, and Joe Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the co-chairs of the Energy Highway Task Force, said in the statement.

NYPA owns and operates about one-third of the state’s high-voltage power lines. Its transmission facilities date back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when NYPA built its major hydroelectric plants on the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers, according to the statement.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.