Iberdrola USA has proposed an underground, 53.3-mile, 1000MW bulk transmission line in New York in response to a request for proposals (RFP) from the New York Power Authority (NYPA).
The Iberdrola S.A. subsidiary, which will be the project’s primary developer, submitted in May its proposal for its “Connect New York HVDC Project” to NYPA and on June 12 to the New York Public Service Commission.
“Connect New York,” which has estimated total cost of $633m, will run from New Scotland in Albany County, N.Y., to Hurley in Ulster County, N.Y., and will be connected to the main electrical lines at two strategic converter stations – AC/DC converter stations – at either end of the line.
The line will use existing public right-of-way along the New York State Thruway right-of-way, New York State Department of Transportation right-of-way and small selections of private right-of-way.
Iberdrola also said that the entire line is proposed to be located underground, thereby minimizing environmental issues and protecting viewsheds of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.
The most important benefit associated with the project is that it is achievable, the company said, noting that it is possible to energize the line by June 2016.
Furthermore, it will foster the state’s desire for energy independence by building an energy highway that will change the financial dynamics of closing the Indian Point Energy Center and repowering upstate plants while encouraging new investment in onshore wind development in upstate New York.
The catalyst for NYPA’s RFP stems from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Energy Highway Blueprint initiative, which outlines long-term strategic goals for upgrading and revitalizing the state’s electric transmission infrastructure, the company said.
The Blueprint calls for $1bn of investment in new transmission that will transport energy from upstate and western New York to downstate New York. Six developers issued statements of intent for projects in February, including the New York Transmission Owners, a consortium of entities that includes an Iberdrola subsidiary.
Iberdrola said that Connect New York will reduce the state’s annual energy bill by reducing congestion and allowing lower cost, cleaner energy upstate to flow into New York City and Long Island, N.Y., which will reduce downstate energy bills.
The energy that is most likely to be transmitted on Connect New York – natural gas and renewable energy – will displace more expensive and higher greenhouse gas energy produced by older fossil fuel plants, the company said.
Additionally, the project uses a DC transmission line, whose benefits include system reliability, fewer line losses, fewer environmental impacts, reduced trenching, less material used and a smaller footprint.
The project will also create thousands of jobs, during the construction period as well as afterwards by enhancing prospects for upstate plants to invest in repowering as a new downstate energy market is opened up.
In order for the project to be online by June 2016, the company has proposed expediting the permitting process, Iberdrola said, adding that its Article VII application is underway.
Also, much of the design for the project has already been completed and Iberdrola has broken the project into two phases in order to ensure that it is completed by June 2016.
The proposal is for Phase 1 – New Scotland to Hurley – of a two-phased project that will ultimately tie the transmission line from Queens, N.Y., to Utica, N.Y.
Iberdrola also noted that it will form a separate, wholly owned legal entity whose sole purpose will be to build, own and operate the project.
Key to the discussion of upgrading the infrastructure is the creation of several contingency plans to address potential power plant closures, such as the closing of the Indian Point nuclear generating station.
The company said that ultimately, the project will expand and strengthen the energy highway by alleviating a congested transmission infrastructure, particularly in the transmission corridor consisting of Central East-New Scotland-Leeds-Pleasant Valley, which is defined in the Energy Highway Blueprint as an area of most concern.
Iberdrola said it evaluated six routes for the project, including starting at the Marcy substation near Utica, ending at the Rainey substation in Queens and creating a new substation on the Thruway right-of-way, near Coeymans, where the existing 345-kV transmission line crosses the Thruway.
The route starting from the New Scotland substation to the Hurley Avenue substation was chosen for various reasons, including that the more compact route ensures that the June 2016 online date is attainable.