PowerBridge affiliate Hudson Transmission Partners’ approximately $850m HVDC line between Ridgefield, N.J., and Manhattan has begun delivering power to New York City customers.
Chris Hocker, PowerBridge’s vice president of planning, told TransmissionHub on June 3, “The project went into commercial operation today, just after midnight.”
Hocker told TransmissionHub in February that the line was about six weeks ahead of schedule, and would enter service on or around June 1.
“Essentially, the physical aspects of construction are done, and we are in the testing and commission phase,” Hocker said at the time.
PowerBridge noted on June 3 that Hudson Transmission Partners has completed testing of its underground and underwater 660 MW project, whose route is about 7.5 miles long, with a cable bundle buried under the Hudson River for about 3.5 miles and buried underground for about four miles, starting in Ridgefield.
The Hudson cable bundle extends from the Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) Bergen substation in Ridgefield to the nearby HVDC converter station and then travels about 3.5 miles underground to Edgewater, N.J., where it enters the Hudson River, the company said.
The cables make landfall on Manhattan’s West Side between Piers 92 and 94, then go a short distance from West 52nd Street along the West Side Highway to Consolidated Edison Company of New York’s (Con Edison) West 49th Street substation, the company said.
PSE&G is the largest subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG). Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED).
The project can provide about 5% of New York City’s peak demand, according to PowerBridge.
Construction on the project, which was completed six weeks ahead of schedule, began in May 2011.
PowerBridge also noted that the project is the second major underwater transmission project it has completed, following the 660 MW Neptune undersea transmission project, which was completed in June 2007 and extends 65 miles between New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y.
The Hudson and Neptune projects provide access to power from the PJM Interconnection grid.
“Like Neptune, the Hudson project shows how this type of technology can bring reliable electric power to densely populated areas in a cost-effective, non-controversial, and environmentally friendly way,” PowerBridge President and CEO Edward Stern said in the statement.
He noted that the project was completed “well ahead of schedule and therefore in time for the summer peak load period.”
Using HVDC technology, the electricity drawn from the PJM grid is converted from AC to DC power and then back to AC power at a new converter station in Ridgefield in order to maximize reliability and controllability in delivering power to Manhattan, the company said.
Hudson Transmission Partners, the developer, owner and operator of the Hudson project, is responsible for its planning, permitting, financing and construction. Hudson Transmission Partners is managed by PowerBridge and its partners include Anbaric and Triton.
Principal investors in the project are Energy Investors Funds through its United States Power Fund II and Starwood Energy Group Global affiliate Starwood Energy Investors.
PowerBridge, which developed, financed, built and now manages and operates the Neptune project, also said it is developing additional undersea and underground transmission projects, such as the proposed West Point Transmission project, which includes a 1,000 MW, 80-mile cable underneath the Hudson River between Athens and Buchanan in New York that would provide access to cheaper and renewable energy from upstate New York to New York City area customers.
West Point Partners, a single-purpose entity formed by PowerBridge and Anbaric, said in a Jan. 25 statement of intent filed with New York state regulators that it proposes to build the West Point Transmission facility, which will be capable of carrying 1,000 MW of electric power for about 80 miles between the existing National Grid Leeds substation in Athens, Greene County, N.Y., and the existing Con Edison Buchanan North substation adjacent to the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, Westchester County, N.Y.
The project’s preliminary cost is about $1bn.
“The date for completion could be as early as June 2016 assuming timely regulatory reviews and approvals and an accelerated manufacturing and installation schedule,” Hocker said on June 3. “We will file our application for an Article VII certificate later this month, and for an Army Corps permit in July.”
West Point Partners noted in a Feb. 15 filing with regulators that it has completed environmental studies and in-water surveys that will allow it to submit applications for an Article VII certificate and an Army Corps of Engineers permit in 2Q13.
“Post determination of completeness, we have assumed a schedule of 12 months for review and issuance of these approvals,” the company said in the filing, adding that it considers these two approvals to be the major approvals needed to begin construction, along with the required EM&CP, and believes that other needed approvals can be obtained within that time frame.
The company also said it has made assumptions about the project’s financial structure that would allow it to accelerate the schedule by beginning engineering and manufacturing in advance of final regulatory approvals. “This would allow us to achieve commercial operation on or about Oct. 1, 2016 – and potentially even earlier if major regulatory approvals and cost recovery assurances are obtained expeditiously,” the company said.