Three 115-kV lines to be relocated to accommodate new Alcoa substation

Three 115-kV transmission lines will be relocated to accommodate a new substation and aluminum production equipment as part of Alcoa’s Massena East smelter modernization project.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees on May 21 approved capital expenditures of more than $3.7m for the relocation, according to a statement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A NYPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub on May 22 that Alcoa will reimburse NYPA for the full cost of the transmission line relocation project.

According to the statement, under a 2011 agreement, Alcoa will reimburse NYPA for the engineering, procurement and construction costs for the power line relocation, the statement added.

Alcoa, which has been a NYPA customer since NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric plant began commercial operation in 1958, committed to invest at least $600m to modernize its Massena operations and retain at least 900 jobs at the company’s Massena East and Massena West smelters in return for 478 MW of hydropower from the hydroelectric plant, or about 60% of the plant’s generating output.

In March, the statement added, the Alcoa Board of Directors said the company was prepared to proceed with the next phase of the modernization project. It plans to invest $42m for site preparation at Massena East and to provide $10m toward a North Country Economic Development Fund, whose establishment is provided for under a long-term power agreement with NYPA that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.

The power will be provided to Alcoa over a 30-year contract that includes a 10-year option to extend service beyond 2045, according to the statement.

The new 115-kV substation that Alcoa will install at the Massena East site will provide power to the new potline, which keeps aluminum in liquid form, as well as other equipment. The new substation, which will replace a more than 50-year-old facility, will be located in an area now occupied by the three 115-kV transmission lines, which are being relocated, the statement added.

Sections of the three lines are being relocated at the Alcoa Massena East site, the spokesperson said, adding that the lines are five miles long. Nearly one-mile-long sections of the lines will be moved.

The lines are being relocated several hundred feet to the south of their current site to accommodate the installation of a new substation needed to provide electricity to new aluminum production equipment that is part of the Alcoa modernization initiative, she said.

The project will begin in early June, with expected completion in November, she said.

Alcoa will operate the portion of the substation that serves its facility, and NYPA will operate the portion that serves other areas in the region, the spokesperson said.

“The relocation of the NYPA transmission lines on the smelter site is part of the necessary infrastructure modifications underpinning the major Alcoa modernization initiative that our region has long been looking forward to,” Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee and long-time Massena resident, said in the statement.

“The relocation of the power lines several hundred feet to the south of their current site location is necessary for our installation of a new transmission substation for feeding electricity to a new aluminum production potline,” Bob Lenney, Alcoa East plant manager, said in the statement.

The statement also noted that Northline Utilities will provide materials, installation and testing services for the transmission line relocation under a competitively awarded, $2.13m contract with NYPA.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3228 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at