West Point Partners application for $1bn project shows details

West Point Partners continues to work on its proposed West Point Transmission Project, submitting an application in late July to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (New York District) for a permit authorizing construction of the project in U.S. waters.

An application seeking a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CECPN) and a water quality certification under the Clean Water Act is pending before the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) in Case 13-T-0292, West Point Partners, a single-purpose entity formed by PowerBridge and Anbaric, said in its July 31 application. The application for a CECPN under Article VII of the New York State Public Service Law was filed with the PSC on June 28.

West Point Partners is proposing to build and operate the approximately 80-mile, high voltage electric transmission facility that will connect existing National Grid USA’s existing Leeds substation in the town of Athens in Greene County, N.Y., and Consolidated Edison Company of New York’s (Con Edison) existing Buchanan North substation, which is located adjacent to Entergy’s (NYSE:ETR) Indian Point Energy Center in the Village of Buchanan, Town of Cortlandt in Westchester County, N.Y.

National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc. Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED).

The project will be buried under the bed of the Hudson River, in submerged lands owned by New York, for about 77 miles of the total 80-mile length. At either end of the in-river cable route, the land cables will be located primarily in existing public rights-of-way (ROWs) and, to a lesser extent, in ROWs secured from private landowners.

West Point Partners also said that the project will be capable of providing up to 1,000 MW of firm transmission capacity, noting that at a 100% capacity factor, the project would deliver 8.76 million MWh of energy per year from New York ISO’s (NYISO) Zone G to NYISO’s Zone H.

Additionally, since the project will be a controllable direct current (DC) circuit, it can provide other services, such as voltage support, load following and energy transfer scheduling to enhance overall system efficiency.

The project will feature a high voltage, or 320-kV, DC cable buried for most of its route in the bed of the Hudson River and will use Voltage Source Conversion-High Voltage Direct Current (VSC-HVDC) technology for controllability, voltage stability and efficiency.

West Point Partners added that the project will also include land-based HVDC cables connecting the in-river cable at each terminus to a VSC-HVDC converter station; VSC-HVDC converter stations at each end of the HVDC cable system, close to the points of interconnection at the Leeds and Buchanan substations; and buried 345-kV AC lines connecting the converter stations to buses in the Leeds and Buchanan substations.

The converter stations will be located on private property proximate to the existing Leeds and Buchanan substations.

While the West Point Transmission Cable is referred to as a “line” or “cable” for convenience, the HVDC portion will consist of two transmission cables in a bipolar system, plus a fiber optic communications cable. The 345-kV AC portion will consist of two three-phase circuits in parallel duct banks, each with a fiber optic communications cable.

The project will be built entirely within New York as part of the NYISO system.

West Point Partners also said that it can implement an accelerated schedule to achieve a commercial operation date for the project of June 1, 2016 to meet the needs of the state electrical system in the event of the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center. An alternative schedule would achieve a commercial operation date of Dec. 31, 2017, and would include cable installation work beginning in 2015 instead of 2014, and installation of the in-river cable over the course of two construction seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Potential alternative substations were evaluated using the NYISO feasibility study process, West Point Partners said, noting that interconnection points at the National Grid New Scotland substation and the Con Edison Buchanan South substation were found to be less desirable than using the preferred interconnections at the Leeds and Buchanan substations.

“[T]he two substations are located such that creating a new 345-kV link between these two points provides 1,000 MW of congestion relief with a relatively short transmission line that can be installed without permanent impacts on land use patterns, the human environment or the natural environment,” West Point Partners said.

As reported, the project’s preliminary cost is about $1bn.

West Point Partners said in its application that studies of the project’s environmental impact show that by embedding the project cables in the riverbed and underground and by locating the converter stations near existing substations, the project’s environmental impacts will be minimal and primarily limited to the construction phase.

Earlier this year, West Point Partners submitted a statement of intent involving the project following a November 2012 PSC order that said various studies have identified the AC electric transmission corridor that traverses the Mohawk Valley Region, the Capital Region and the Lower Hudson Valley as a source of persistent congestion.

The PSC solicited written public statements of intent from developers and transmission owners proposing projects that will increase transfer capacity through the congested transmission corridor and meet the objectives of the Energy Highway Blueprint.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his 2012 State of the State Address, 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.

West Point Partners noted in its application that in response to the state’s Energy Highway goals, the project will meet, in part or in whole, certain needs, including providing a transmission path capable of delivering 1,000 MW of firm capacity from upstate to southeastern New York; providing a means for replacing about 50% of the output of Indian Point Units 2 and 3; allowing generators, including wind, other renewable resources and repowered plants located north and west of Leeds to deliver an additional 1,000 MW of power to loads in southeastern New York; and providing the benefits of a controllable HVDC circuit, including voltage support and outage recovery capability.

Line minutiae

The northern interconnection point will be the Leeds substation in Athens, West Point Partners added, noting that the northern AC cable will exit from the east side of that substation, head east for about 600 feet and then north for 0.4 miles to enter the west side of the northern converter station, which will be situated on a 3.8-acre portion of a 44-acre private parcel located about 950 feet west of Flats Road Extension and about 3,100 feet north of Leeds Athens Road in Athens.

The in-river cable route runs from an underground transition vault located in the vicinity of the northern landfall near River Mile (RM) 118 on the west side of the Hudson River to the transition vault located in the vicinity of the southern landfall near RM 42 on the east side of the river. The total length of the in-river cable between those two locations will be about 77.6 miles, of which about 77.3 miles of the in-river cable will be embedded into the river bottom by hydraulic jetting.

The project’s northern landfall will be located at a Peckham Industries liquid calcium chloride storage terminal facility, located off of North Washington Street in the Village of Athens.

West Point Partners added that the in-river cable route will exit the Hudson River at the southern landfall in the town of Cortlandt, onto property now owned by Con Edison. In the vicinity of the southern landfall, a transition vault will be located underground within an existing unused paved area on the Con Edison property near the western terminus of 9th Street, West Point Partners said, adding that the in-river cable will be spliced to the southern land cable in the transition vault.

The southern land route will run southwest within the Con Edison property for about 240 feet before reaching 9th Street, from which the cable will proceed southeast for about 950 feet, then turn north on Highland Avenue for 400 feet to re-enter the Con Edison property.

The cable will then proceed northerly along an existing, unused access road for about 650 feet before turning east to enter the southern converter station, which will occupy about 3.8 acres of a 105-acre underutilized parcel owned by Con Edison in Cortlandt.

The southern AC cable, West Point Partners added, will exit from the east side of the southern converter station and proceed south for about 890 feet to 11th Street. The cable will then follow that street for about 460 feet to Broadway, and then follow Broadway for about 0.79 miles before turning east into the Buchanan substation. The southern AC cable will be located in Cortlandt and Buchanan.

The southern interconnection for the project will be the Buchanan substation in Buchanan, West Point Partners added, noting that the project will interconnect through an available bay in the substation.

The proposed in-river cable route is located in the same stretch of the Hudson River as the Champlain-Hudson Power Express (CHPE) project, which received its Article VII certificate from the state Public Service Commission (PSC) in April.

Since the CHPE project has not received its federal approvals or its work permit from the state Office of General Services, there is uncertainty as to when, or if, the CHPE project cable would get installed. Consequently, West Point Partners is presenting two in-river cable route alternatives that would coexist with the CHPE project cable route in the event that the CHPE project receives its remaining permits and is installed in accordance with the Article VII certificate, with the difference in the two being based on installation sequence, according to the application.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2850 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.