A New York state regulatory procedural conference will be held on Oct. 23 to address several proposals related to the New York Energy Highway Initiative, including one by a NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) subsidiary that the company said will reduce congestion costs by nearly $2.3bn.
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.
Boundless Energy NE is among the companies to recently file initial application materials with the state Public Service Commission.
NextEra Energy Transmission New York
NextEra Energy Transmission New York (NEETNY), a direct subsidiary of NextEra Energy Transmission and an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, said in its Oct. 1 application that it is seeking a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Article VII of the New York State Public Service Law to build and operate a new, approximately 148-mile, 345-kV single-circuit line parallel and adjacent to existing transmission lines between the existing Marcy substation in Oneida County and the existing Pleasant Valley substation in Dutchess County, with an expected in-service date of September 2017.
The project “is necessary to relieve congestion, improve local and regional reliability and enable new renewable and conventional generation,” NEETNY said, noting that a key finding of the New York Energy Highway Blueprint was the need to expand transmission by 1,000 MW in the corridor that traverses the Mohawk Valley Region, the Capital Region and the Lower Hudson Valley to reduce the congestion that limits the ability to carry excess power downstate.
The project will reduce congestion costs by nearly $2.3bn, cutting production costs by about $350m, transmission system losses by about $349m and capacity payments by up to $803m over 10 years, the company said.
The project will use, to the extent practical, existing rights-of-way (ROWs) to minimize additional ROW acquisitions. However, where construction in an existing ROW is not possible, the line will be located on a new ROW up to 100 feet wide and located adjacent and parallel to the existing transmission facilities.
NEETNY also said the project will interconnect at the Marcy substation in Oneida County and run through Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Greene and Columbia counties, and end at the Pleasant Valley substation in Dutchess County.
From the Marcy substation, the project will run to the New Scotland substation, with an aerial crossing of the Erie Canal/Mohawk River, the New York State Thruway (I-90) and an operating railroad line. From the New Scotland substation, the line will run to the Leeds substation and then to the Pleasant Valley substation.
NEETNY also noted that it is evaluating underground/submarine and aerial crossings of the Hudson River from Athens, Green County, on the west bank to the town of Greenport, Columbia County, on the east, crossing under an operational railroad line.
The corridor includes facilities connected to the Marcy, New Scotland, Leeds and Pleasant Valley substations and two major electrical interfaces, which are referred to as “Central East” and “Upper New York to Southeast New York,” or UPNY/SENY.
NEETNY also said that the project will benefit system reliability, flexibility and efficiency by providing a new transmission path along key interfaces in the New York transmission system. “The project will therefore reinforce the existing grid against system failures, whether due to aging infrastructure, generation retirements, or severe weather conditions,” the company said.
NEETNY plans to design, build and operate the project in a manner that avoids or minimizes impacts to environmental resources within Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Greene, Columbia and Dutchess counties. The project will be built primarily on spun concrete monopoles, the company said, adding that where appropriate, self-supported structures, steel structures, hybrid concrete/steel structures or lattice towers will be used.
Another NextEra proposal
Separately on Oct. 1, NEETNY filed an application saying it proposes to build and operate a 57-mile, 345-kV aboveground single-circuit line paralleling an existing 345-kV line between the Oakdale substation in Broome County and the Fraser substation in Delaware County with an expected in-service date of August 2018.
By designing the project to be located adjacent and parallel to an existing 345-kV line, and within existing ROWs to the extent practical, NEETNY said it has minimized the potential for significant environmental impacts and disturbances to the surrounding built and natural environment. The project does not go through any federal or state wildlife management areas, NEETNY said, adding that the engineering design is to avoid locating poles within wetlands, streams and stream banks.
A New York ISO (NYISO) study identified the Oakdale to Fraser line as one that constrained west-to-east transfers, noting that the project will remove that constraint. On reliability, the Kattelville to Jennison 115-kV line was identified as an aging line that would need to be replaced in the near future. The project, NEETNY added, will provide a new line that will increase the transfer capability of the Volney East Interface, while providing a reliable replacement should the existing 115-kV line retire due to age. The production cost savings of remedying that constraint are estimated at $32m per year.
Among other things, NEETNY noted that the project begins at the existing Oakdale substation, heads northeast for 12.5 miles, and crosses state routes 69, 104, 11, 128, 79, Interstate 81 and many local roads in Broome County. The project then continues 23 miles east in Chenango County, crossing state routes 9, 235, 41, 7, 39, 206, Interstate 88 and many local roads. The project the continues 21.5 miles east in Delaware County, crossing State Route 8 and many local roads, and ends at the existing Fraser substation.
New York Transmission Owners
In their Sept. 30 application, the New York Transmission Owners (NYTOs) – that is, Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Niagara Mohawk d/b/a National Grid plc subsidiary National Grid USA, New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), Rochester Gas and Electric and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) – said they seek to build a new 345-kV overhead electric transmission line from the Edic substation in the town of Marcy, Oneida County, to the Pleasant Valley substation in the town of Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County over a distance of about 153 miles; and a new 345-kV overhead line from the Oakdale substation in the town of Union, Broome County, to the Fraser substation in the town of Delhi, Delaware County over a distance of about 57.7 miles.
The Edic to Pleasant Valley line will be designed to operate at a nominal system voltage of 345-kV; the voltage at initial operation will also be 345-kV.
Construction of the project will include three new substations: the Princetown substation in the town of Princetown, Knickerbocker substation in town of Schodack and Churchtown substation in the town of Claverack.
About five miles of the existing #30 Porter-Rotterdam 230-kV line and five miles of the #31 Porter-Rotterdam 230-kV line will be rebuilt between the proposed Princetown substation and the existing Rotterdam substation within existing ROW.
The Second Oakdale to Fraser 230-kV line will be built in locations on and along existing transmission ROW and on additional property for which easements of varying widths will be required. The line will be offset from the line of structures supporting NYSEG’s existing line, to allow NYSEG’s existing line to remain in service while the Second Oakdale to Fraser line is under construction, minimizing the need for long-term outages.
The Edic to Pleasant Valley line will share existing electric transmission ROW corridors that are occupied by other National Grid lines and in some locations lines owned and operated by NYPA; however, some new ROW acquisition will be required. The existing National Grid ROW corridors that comprise the primary route for the Edic to Pleasant Valley line traverse – from west to east – the counties of Oneida, Herkimer, Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia and Dutchess.
The Second Oakdale to Fraser line will traverse from southwest to northeast the towns of Union, Maine, Chenango and Barker in Broome County; from west to east in the towns of Greene, Coventry, Afton and Bainbridge in Chenango County; and from west to east the towns of Masonville, Sidney, Franklin, Walton, Hamden and Delhi in Delaware County.
The NYTOs added that the project will provide tangible reliability benefits that result from a more robust transmission system, including increased emergency transfer capability, improved resource adequacy and a reduction in the amount of generation required to maintain system reliability.
It will improve system reliability by replacing aging infrastructure and increase the UPNY/SENY, Central East, Total East, and UPNY/Con Edison interface transfer limits and thereby relieve system congestion.
North America Transmission
In its Oct. 1 initial application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Article VII for an alternating current transmission upgrade project consisting of an Edic to Fraser 345-kV line and a New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley 345-kV line, North America Transmission and North America Transmission Corporation (together, North America Transmission or NAT), said its design for the proposed project includes multiple 345-kV transmission components, which together are expected to provide at least 1,000 MW of congestion relief between the upstate and downstate areas.
“The New Scotland-Leeds-Pleasant Valley transmission line will serve to increase transmission capability between upstate New York and downstate New York, and thereby address one of the key recommendations of the New York Energy Highway Blueprint,” NAT said. “The new 345-kV line will relieve well-established energy transfer limitations on the NY electric transmission system and ensure efficient transmission of clean renewable energy from upstate NY to consumers in downstate NY.”
The proposed project will provide an incremental transmission capability of at least 1,000 MW on the UPNY-SENY interface as well as a significant increase in the energy transfer capability on the central-east interface, NAT said.
On congestion relief, NAT said the NYISO congestion assessment and resource integration study (CARIS) noted that a 345-kV line between the New Scotland and Pleasant Valley 345-kV substations will eliminate demand congestion along the highly congested Leeds–Pleasant Valley transmission path.
The proposed in-service date is October 2017.
NAT, a member of the LS Power Group, said it is willing to build, own and operate variations of its proposal to incorporate slight changes to it that are necessary or beneficial to achieve the goals of the Energy Highway initiative upon order by the PSC.
Such variations could include changing the interconnection substations such as from Edic to Marcy or New Scotland to a new construction substation referred to as Knickerbocker, changing the amount or location of series compensation or changing the ratings of the lines. NAT said it is also willing to build the proposed lines as double circuit capable to allow future expansion of the system with minimal additional landowner and environmental impacts upon PSC order.
According to NAT, the Edic to Fraser line will involve the construction of the approximately 80-mile, 345-kV Edic to Fraser overhead line in the towns of Marcy, Deerfield, Schuyler, Frankfort, Litchfield, Columbia, Richfield, Exeter, Burlington, New Lisbon, Laurens, City of Oneonta, and towns of Otego, Franklin, Delhi and Hamden.
The line will also involve construction of a new series compensation station, which will occupy about 10 acres adjacent to the new Edic to Fraser transmission line along the route, and modification of the existing Edic and Fraser substations in Marcy and Delhi to accept the new line.
The New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley line will involve building the 65-mile, 345-kV New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley overhead line in the towns of New Scotland, Bethlehem, Coeymans, New Baltimore, Coxsackie, Athens, Village of Athens and towns of Greenport, Livingston, Clermont, Milan, Clinton, Pleasant Valley and Hyde Park.
NAT also said it involves modification of the existing New Scotland, Leeds and Pleasant Valley substations in New Scotland, Leeds and Pleasant Valley to accept the new line.
Construction, operation and maintenance activities will require NAT to acquire property rights along the project right-of-way (ROW) for the proposed lines. The project is planned to be built using steel monopole structures, NAT said, adding that other structure types may be used to reduce visual impacts of the project.
The proposed route for the Edic to Fraser line will parallel the south side of NYSEG’s existing Edic to New Scotland 345-kV line for the first 7.2 miles after exiting the Edic substation through Marcy, Deerfield and Schuyler, at which point the route traverses generally north to south for about 6.3 miles through Frankfort where it connects to the existing Edic to Fraser 345-kV line corridor.
The remaining 66.5 miles of the line will be built adjacent to the existing corridor in Frankfort, Litchfield, Columbia, Richfield, Exeter, Burlington, New Lisbon, Laurens, Oneonta, Otego, Franklin, Delhi and Hamden to the Fraser substation in Delhi.
The proposed route for New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley begins at the New Scotland substation in New Scotland and parallels the existing New Scotland to Alps 345-kV line for the first 0.7 miles to the east side of the CSX RR ROW, then turns south adjacent to the RR ROW for about 1.3 miles and traverses 0.62 miles to the southwest to join the New Scotland to Leeds 115-kV line corridor.
NAT added that after joining this corridor, the route parallels the existing line 11 miles through New Scotland, Bethlehem, Coeymans and New Baltimore. The route continues on a new corridor for about 2.1 miles roughly 0.35 miles east of the existing lines before rejoining the existing corridor in New Baltimore at which point the route parallels the existing New Scotland to Leeds 115-kV line for the remaining 10 miles through Coxsackie into the west side of the Leeds substation in Athens.
NAT also said that the route exits the east side of the Leeds substation and parallels the existing Leeds to Pleasant Valley circuits for the 40-mile route through the town of Athens, village of Athens and towns of Greenport, Livingston, Clermont, Milan, Clinton, Pleasant Valley and Hyde Park.