Con Edison submits environmental management, construction plan for segment of proposed 345-kV line

Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison) on Dec. 31 filed with New York state regulators the environmental management and construction plan (EM&CP) for the Sugarloaf to Rock Tavern segment of the second Ramapo to Rock Tavern 345-kV transmission line.

Feeder 76, an 11.8-mile segment, together with Feeder 28, will form a 345-kV line that will extend from the Ramapo substation to the Rock Tavern substation, a distance of 27.4 miles. Feeder 76 will be the second circuit of an existing line and will use an existing right-of-way (ROW) as well as existing transmission towers.

The company added in its letter to the state Public Service Commission (PSC) that the PSC granted a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for both circuits in 1972.

The PSC recently directed Con Edison to proceed with construction of Feeder 76 and to complete it by June 1, 2016, subject to obtaining the required regulatory approvals. The PSC determined that the Ramapo to Rock Tavern line, together with other utility projects, is required to meet a reliability need in the event that Entergy‘s (NYSE:ETR) Indian Point plant is retired.

Con Edison said it believes that the Ramapo to Rock Tavern line would address, in part, persistent congestion on the Upstate New York/Southeastern New York (UPNY/SENY) and Central East transmission interfaces, and, together with projects proposed by other New York Transmission Owners, submitted the project to the PSC in a proceeding addressing congestion relief on those interfaces.

The Feeder 76 work is expected to have minimal environmental impact while providing numerous significant benefits, the company said.

According to the EM&CP, the Feeder 76 project involves three system upgrades:

  • Installation of 11.8 miles of overhead 345-kV line between the Sugarloaf substation in the town of Chester in Orange County, N.Y., and the Rock Tavern substation in the town of New Windsor in Orange County, using the existing double circuit structures currently supporting Feeder 77.
  • Conversion of Feeder 28 from its initial operating voltage of 138-kV to its certificated operating voltage of 345-kV by connecting Feeder 28 to the Ramapo 345-kV substation in the town of Ramapo in Rockland County, N.Y. Feeder 28 is 15.6 miles and will become part of the new Feeder 76 upon its conversion to 345-kV.
  • Installation of a 345-kV/138-kV step-down transformer and associated 345-kV switching equipment and ancillary facilities in the vicinity of the existing 138-kV Sugarloaf substation.

Incremental physical reinforcements to install Feeder 76 would likely be required to bring the existing transmission towers to current standards, the company said, adding that some of the towers within the existing 11.8-mile ROW between the Sugarloaf and Rock Tavern substations may require the reinforcement of steel members or foundation footings. No excavation of previously undisturbed ground beyond the base of the towers or ground outside of the ROW is anticipated, the company said.

Con Edison also said that it anticipates that the work planned at the substation sites, including the work planned at the Sugarloaf substation, will be accomplished within existing substation properties and ROWs. No excavation of previously undisturbed ground or ground outside of substation properties is anticipated. Furthermore, it is anticipated that no additional land rights are required to build those substation upgrades or to install the new 345-kV line.

The company said that by increasing transfer capability on constrained interfaces into the SENY area, the Feeder 76 project will allow high-load density areas, such as New York City and parts of the Lower Hudson Valley, greater access to generation resources in upstate New York.

Furthermore, the project will provide environmental benefits to the state by allowing transmission of renewable energy from favorable wind sites in upstate New York into high-load density areas downstate, thereby facilitating the development and integration of additional wind generation in New York State and helping to achieve a cleaner resource mix, the company said.

Construction for Feeder 76 is expected to begin in mid-2014 and continue through mid-2016, Con Edison said, adding that it is expected that Feeder 76 will be in service by summer 2016.

Discussing land use, the company noted that land uses along the route for Feeder 76, and in the vicinity of the existing Rock Tavern substation and the Sugarloaf substation, were identified from several sources, including a field reconnaissance survey last August.

Beginning at the northern portion of the project area in New Windsor at the Rock Tavern substation, for instance, the land use is characterized as rural, with Stewart State Forest located immediately north of the substation across Forrester Road and rural residential to the south.

The existing ROW for Feeder 76 is adjacent to, or within, areas that are classified agricultural, residential, vacant/undeveloped lands, conservation lands and public parks, commercial and industrial, recreation, community service and public service.

Nearby light industrial, commercial and residential land uses may experience temporary disturbance and inconvenience associated with project construction activities progressing along the ROW, mainly at locations where the ROW crosses roadways used by construction vehicles.

Con Edison added that to minimize short-term construction impacts to adjacent landowners, it will provide timely information to property owners and/or tenants regarding the planned construction activities and schedule, and will coordinate with the state Department of Transportation and others, as applicable, to develop and implement traffic control measures to provide for safe and adequate traffic operations along roadways to be used by construction vehicles.

On visual impacts, the company noted that adverse visual impacts from the Feeder 76 project are avoided through the use of an existing utility ROW, substation sites and the use of existing electric transmission structures to support installation of the new circuit.

The company also addressed cultural resources, noting that to provide for the protection of any unknown archaeological resources, Con Edison has developed an unanticipated discovery plan to provide for the identification, protection and documentation of archaeological resources should any be discovered through construction.

The company further noted that no stringing and anchor sites or laydown areas for staging equipment and materials will be sited within wetlands. Also, direct impacts to wetlands will be temporary in nature and minimized by avoiding entering or crossing of wetlands with construction vehicles as much as possible.

Among other things, Con Edison said that Feeder 76 will require only limited and selective vegetation clearing. Accordingly, installation of Feeder 76 would not be expected to affect any of the species in the vicinity of the ROW, which include the violet wood-sorrel and the southern leopard frog, or their habitat.

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

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.